If you are like many of my clients, you are looking for how to support your staff in these challenging times. While the times have changed, what motivates and fulfills people is the same. Let’s take a look at what you can do.
We’re living in an era where we can’t escape headlines – the economy, the climate, war, political divisiveness – or that the pandemic radically changed our way of life. All of it has had an impact on our psyches. People are drained and are having a hard time to keep up in all areas of their lives. Employers, managers, and team leaders need to recognize that this is absolutely being brought into the workplace.
Last month we talked about how you can lead through anxiety in ways that can reflect positively with your team, because your staff (and clients) likely are struggling with it too.
The most effective leaders are those who acknowledge the challenges they face – and invite their employees to do the same.
When times are difficult, the success of any organization comes from how motivated and productive its employees are. And if they’re not, they will likely become minimally engaged, and a business literally can’t survive without it.
Employees need more encouragement, attention and appreciation, to feel valued and like they can make a contribution. How do you get a happy team with increased morale?
Money is not an issue when it’s enough. The real key is in making people feel they have some authority to make decisions, giving them proper training and time frames for the work they are expected to achieve, being clear on the goals and objectives, and are harmoniously connected to those they are working with.
Here’s some tips on how to help your employees rethink how they work and come to feel, engaged, acknowledged and more satisfied in their roles.
Explain exactly what you need, by when, and why. Clarifying the context goes a long way to help them see how their contributions matter. This will hone and direct their decision making toward the shared goal.
Each person will be motivated by something different. Discuss what captures their interest and effort. It will be good for you both to know. This will help you assign tasks to match their abilities, with just enough stretch of their comfort zone to keep them alert and learning. Expecting too much or assigning mismatched goals may have filled them with dread and led to under performance.
And, make sure they hear that what they contributed did matter to the ultimate outcome, especially if they were not involved all the way through.
This is my favorite. Sit them down to tell them how their skills, track record, ease with the team, etc made you choose them for a particular task. Tell them you have every confidence that they will succeed.
Within reason, which you need to present clearly, allow them to decide how to run the task or project. Make it theirs. And, let them know you are there if needed.
Thank them sincerely. Find an opportunity to publicly appreciate them. When there is positive feedback, be sure their managers or teammates know. And make this an equal habit with everyone, so no one gets left out. And when there is team success, be sure to recognize what each person contributed.
Praise, especially in front of others is golden, but it can also be appropriate to do something more tangible. Small things, like being entered into an office pool for gift cards, a MVP tee shirt or plaque, being employee of the week or month go a long way. So does a handwritten note of appreciation or recognition from you. Giving them a sought after project next, or greater duties can be a great motivator.
As you work on new ways to support your staff by creating engagement, positive challenges and encouragement, and showing your appreciation and gratitude, remember that using your heart and gut as well as your head will prove invaluable.
This unparalleled time of change will continue, and creating the new can be exciting if you have the right tools and plan. When you’ve worked courageously with what’s coming up for you and apply what you learn in the workplace, your leadership is better set up to focus, inspire and reward your staff.
If you’d like support around to how to listen to your staff, appreciate, challenge and reward them, encourage their goals, and show how much you value them, let’s talk. We’re all in this together.