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Motivation: the desire to doing something. Done right, motivation can propel your team forward toward success. Done wrong, motivation can cause stress, indecisiveness, and ultimately, inaction.
The ability to provide motivation to your team is a quality that all successful managers must develop. Here are five concrete ways to boost your leadership skills:
1. Connect with your team
You don’t need to be everyone’s best friend, but you do need to connect with your team – understanding their tasks, needs, roadblocks, and methods of empowerment. Essentially, you need to be able to see your team not just as team-members, but as people with needs to be acknowledged. A personal connection also facilitates trust – trust that you will lead correctly, that the team is united, and that a win is on the horizon.
Try this: Take your team members out to lunch for one-on-one discussions. This will help you learn how they think and how best to communicate with them. A little bit of time and good will goes a long way towards team-building.
Around the web: Read Forbes’ take on building better connections.
2. Start a contest within your team
Starting a contest within your team is a tangible way to motivate your team-members and improve morale. These contests can range from monthly/quarterly metrics to those with the best CRM database. You might run competitions with people in pairs or groups to increase cooperation and team spirit. Regardless of the parameters of the competition, be sure to provide an interesting incentive to drive the competitors forward.
Try this: The most simple contest is conversion. Distribute leads evenly among team members and then see who converts the most sales.
Around the web: Sales contest ideas
3. Participate in team building activities
Maybe your team members don’t want to socialize together outside of work. And that’s understandable – they have families and commitments away from work. Still, don’t underestimate the power of the employee activity/retreat. Done right, these activities can help increase performance from team-members by providing an opportunity for them to work on their teamwork skills, create friendships, release pent-up steam, and relax in an environment that they would not find at the office.
Try this: A company paintball match is a fun and generally harmless way to encourage subtle team bonding. Team members must work together, and they get to release a good deal of steam as an added bonus.
Around the web: Check out these short and simple team building activities you can do in the office.
4. Recognize your team for their accomplishments
Positive affirmation can be a powerful force for good within your team. Possibly even more important than incentives, straight-forward recognition for a job well done is surprisingly rewarding and encourages continued hard work. Of course, be careful that any praise or acknowledgment is authentic and meaningful.
Try this: Institute a shout-out as a regular agenda item at your weekly sales meeting. Choose one particularly stellar effort each week to recognize and applaud in a group setting.
Around the web: 5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition
5. Allow open dialogue
A common complaint among team members is lack of communication. It can be difficult to ensure that each member is present and engaged during meetings, carefully reading every email, or following along with team projects – so there’s a chance your team members feel out of the loop from time to time. Encouraging open dialogue, both in meetings and informal conversations, can go a long way to keeping everyone on the same page.
Try this: Use social media to encourage communication among team members. Set up a Facebook group so team members can share links, ideas, and feedback.
Around the web: 6 Secrets to Creating a Culture of Open Dialogue