As a manager, motivating teams at work is a never-ending challenge.
It gets even tougher if your work environment doesn’t fully embrace employee engagement and happiness as part of its talent management strategy.
Then, every day can feel as though you are walking a tightrope.
Managers understand the power they have in unearthing their team’s potential – because at some point in their lives they were part of a team and reported to a manager.
In some work environments, you are going to feel unsupported in your goals, but this shouldn’t mean that you are not able to develop motivated, productive teams of your own.
In fact, often, it is within this continuous cycle of recognising your team that the employees who report to you start to appreciate you for being a great manager – and eventually – senior management will take note.
As a manager, you can, and have the responsibility, to motivate your team effectively to create a thriving environment that unleashes your team’s full potential.
Because you can rock employee engagement and effectively motivate your team if you really want to.
There are many opportunities to influence employee engagement. Each day is a chance to increase your team’s engagement levels.
Take a look at some factors that could be affecting your employees’ engagement levels:
1. What’s their relationship with their direct manager?
2. Does the manager frequently recognise performance?
3. Is there consistent and open communication with the manager?
4. Does the employee have a fair amount of autonomy?
5. Does the employee enjoy his/her tasks and projects?
6. Managers set the tone that spurs employee engagement.
7. Through strategic management and direct, open communication, managers can instil a sense of pride within their teams, nurture workplace excellence and kickstart a culture of recognition within their teams.
8. There are consequential actions that managers can take to increase employee engagement, and create a productive, happy workplace.
So let’s take a look:
1. Make time for regular feedback.
Consistent communication between manager and employee is one of the leading drivers of employee engagement.
Effective managers discuss and set realistic expectations together with the employee; allowing a level of autonomy while maintaining open lines of communication from an operations standpoint.
Doing this regularly creates positive interactions with all members of your team and fosters cross-team engagement while you, as a manager, are able to keep your finger on the pulse as it relates to project delivery.
Remember, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to communication. All employees have their own unique style, and effective managers need to understand that.
Include a range of different communication methods including emails, regular 15-minute meetings, and even instant messaging apps designed for team productivity.
2. Give your team the tools they need and want.
You want them to do a great job, right?
So, give your team the tools they need, and want (within reason of course). This forms part of the total employee experience.
Employers often make the assumption that employees have all the tools they need to perform their job at optimal levels.
The truth is, they most likely don’t.
Go ahead and take the time to find out, if they are having any difficulties completing a task because of a lack of physical (stationery, equipment) tools or emotional (don’t understand the company vision, personal anxiety) barriers.
As a manager, your job is to manage:
1. Manage expectations
2. Manage operational issues and
3. Most importantly manage the employee experience within your teams.
4. So it is important to highlight and help solve any issues that could impact production.
An effective manager should enable a team to:
1. Minimise resistance when engaging cross-functionally.
2. Develop a deep understanding of the company’s vision, mission and values; and sharing other important information to complete their tasks.
3. Reduce anxiety and stress by checking in regularly and provide a sense of comfort and encouragement.
4. Decrease uncertainty by clarifying each team member’s role and related tasks as well as project objectives.
3. It’s your team, turn work into play.
Employees spend almost 70% of the day at work!
So it really should be fun.
Creating an environment of engagement doesn’t need to be formal it can also be informal and enjoyable. Engaged employees love their work life because they are good at what they do and have fun doing it.
Have some fun, smile a bit more – you’ll find the happier your team is the more enthusiastic and energised they will be to engage in their work and in the longer term, the company’s success.
Help your team get more things done while ‘playing’ at work. A diligent yet casual approach can go a long way.
4. You have to recognise your team.
Now, this is the point where most managers fall off the effective-manager wagon.
Great managers understand that recognising team members activates their team’s performance and productivity.
Sending messages of appreciation, giving positive feedback for doing great work is highly effective in creating team spirit and engagement.
Don’t wait until the anxiety-filled quarterly performance review to say ‘thank you’ or to recognise excellent work.
Show your appreciation on-the-spot to encourage the repetition of positive behaviours.
This is also an instant morale and team booster that leads to a higher level of engagement.
5. Set realistic expectations for your employees.
Great managers know that setting small, attainable goals keeps team spirit up and the levels of engagement high.
Before discussing expectations with your team, first, ascertain if your expectations of them are realistic. Once you are satisfied that it is, meet with your team and convey a clear, concise game plan that enables you to delegate without micro-managing.
Help your team achieve more by assigning tasks that are easy, manageable and quick to achieve. This promotes self-confidence and builds trust and employees who experience this level of trust from their managers are more likely to stay engaged.
6. Help your team understand long-term goals with clarification
When managers clearly define the vision, mission and long-term goals of the company, employees feel as though they are working side-by-side with their manager to attain it.
That level of camaraderie and unity ensures that every task, big and small, has a shared purpose.
Work becomes a collaboration between manager and employee and a cohesive, singular team vision ensues.
Managers set the direction for their teams and that’s why it is imperative that each team member clearly understands the strategy, purpose and their role in achieving team and company goals.
This integrated working approach motivates excellence as everyone understands that even the small things make a big difference to the big picture.
7. Transparency and openness are key.
Effective leadership makes a point of creating an environment in which employees are comfortable communicating to each other and to their manager.
To be a great manager isn’t to be a great commander but a great communicator.
At all times you should be open, fair and honest yet respectful in your exchanges with your team.
Act with integrity: if you say you’ll do something, do it.
Your team takes its cue from your actions as a manager. Make yourself accessible for informal chats for idea-sharing and make every effort to earn your team’s trust.
Employees want to respect and trust their managers. They want to be engaged so that they can contribute to the vision. But, engagement starts with you, the manager and your team needs a strong manager to achieve remarkable business results!
If you are a manager, drop us a comment below and let us know how you have been able to successfully achieve higher levels of employee engagement?