It constantly amazes me when I hear people complaining about ‘the boss’, particularly if they work for an owner-managed business. Surely most intelligent people (and you would assume that a business owner has some level of intelligence) realise that happy, motivated, engaged and rewarded people perform better in their roles. The wisdom behind upsetting the people you are paying good money to work for you baffles me completely. Yet some ‘bosses’ still seem to favour the ‘them and us’ approach.
Think ‘team’ not ‘staff’
I am calling on a level of common sense again here: Most people would agree that a close-knit, well managed and highly motivated team (of average ability) usually outperforms a group of disinterested, uncooperative (but highly talented) individuals. There is nothing new here. Throughout history battles have been won, great causes upheld and unbelievable sporting achievements secured based on the principle of teamwork.
“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons: and they will follow you into the deepest valley.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
This knowledge, or at the very least believing that there is some truth behind the power of teamwork, should be enough to motivate a business owner to motivate their team. I know it works because I have been laying team ethic, motivation, reward and purpose at the very foundation of my business for many years now. Here are some of our fundamental beliefs and practices at Meades & Co.
When one wins, we all win!
Motivation by delegation: People will never feel part of the team until they start playing their part. I have found that my team love taking on responsibility and making a difference. So I let them. The key is to ensure you only give an individual enough (not too much or too little). Let them EARN the reward:
E is for Explaining the task
A is for Assisting until they are able
R is for Reviewing the result (always positively)
N is for Negotiating the amount of responsibility passed on, based on the results
This process can be repeated to keep encouraging growth within your team.
Motivation by engagement: If your goals, team vision and desire to motivate the people working for you is not working; it might be because they do not hear you well enough. Communication and listening are skills that can be improved and enhanced. Here are a few tips:
- When you communicate; mingle and get involved with your team: don’t speak from a ‘them and us’ perspective.
- Backtrack frequently: repetition builds attention and improves the communication.
- Clarify what you mean regularly: don’t just become a broken record – try rephrasing key points.
- Ask people for feedback (and listen carefully) so that you can be sure your message was received.
- Be interested and get involved in the follow-up and results of your communications.
Motivation by reward: If we are talking teamwork then rewarding great team performance is always a great way to inspire results. That way the people are working hard for themselves, their teammates, your customers, the boss (you), and the business. Everyone wins when the team is motivated!
But remember that when it comes to the reward itself, different people like different things. You can manage this either by talking to the people involved or simply offering a choice of rewards: vouchers, time-off, or entertainment, etc.
Remember, if there is a team working alongside you; your job is simply to motivate them to do their very best. That way everyone wins, and the momentum just keeps on rolling.