One of the most important aspects of great leadership is the ability to motivate other people. The efficiency, output, and satisfaction of employees are integral to the running of a successful business, and it often falls to the management to inspire and get the best out of their staff.
These five tips from United Car Care Executive Vice President Rory Angold will help any management figure hone their ability to increase performance by leading from the front.
Recognize the individual
The first thing any manager needs to understand is that there is no quick fix that will instantly motivate every member of the staff. People are unique and capricious. Methods that work to inspire one person may not work on another. It would help if you did the groundwork by getting to know the members of your team before you can hope to make any real changes to their motivation.
Spend time observing how people react to different situations and ask your advisors for their opinions on how individual staff members would handle certain approaches to man-management. There should, however, always be limits on how uniquely you treat people.
Fairness should always prevail. For instance, don’t take a softer approach with one person if it will upset others. Work flexibly within defined boundaries to appeal to a person’s sense of individuality while maintaining a sense of equity.
Encourage the team
Happy and motivated individuals will make the team healthier overall, but you still need to focus on improving group dynamics continually. The goal is to create an atmosphere that is conducive to hard work. To do this, you can start by changing the physical layout of the environment. Something as simple as changing the seating plan can have a surprisingly large effect on team efficiency. Placing friends next to each other, for instance, can improve morale but may also cause the team members to become distracted.
It’s also beneficial to introduce an element of competition to the work wherever appropriate. Give out rewards to incentivize efficiency. Substantial rewards like extra days off are far more effective than superficial tokens such as flowers or a cuddly toy. The competitive aspect will bring people together and create a better, more productive, sense of cohesion within the group.
Adapt to the situation
Many managers will be shocked to discover that at some point, their tried-and-tested techniques will no longer be effective. Every situation is unique, and the people involved will change with time and experience. You may think you know exactly how to motivate one individual, only for your efforts to have a completely undesired effect.
The key to continued success is staying informed and vigilant. Keep abreast of any issues that may be affecting your employees. For instance, if someone is struggling with personal issues, you may need to take a much more subtle and understanding approach when trying to motivate them for work.
Being part of the team on a day-to-day basis will keep you informed of most changes in mood or atmosphere, so be wary of locking yourself away behind closed doors and away from your staff for long periods.
Demonstrate best practices
It’s important to lead from the front by embodying the traits you want to see in your staff. Hypocrisy is the enemy of respect. If your team sees you acting unprofessionally, they won’t take your remonstrations seriously when you catch them doing the same. Maintain an air of professionalism at all times and only let your guard down outside of working hours.
It’s always tempting to slack off when your own workload is light, but you will breed resentment amongst the other team members if you’re seen relaxing while still expecting them to work hard. If you want to take time off, do it away from prying eyes so that your ability to lead by example isn’t jeopardized.
Continue to learn
The best managers are never satisfied. The ability to motivate and inspire people needs to be constantly honed. Read widely and learn as much as you can. There is an infinite number of personalities in the world, and each one could necessitate a new style of management. By resting on your laurels, you risk being left behind by the mercurial world of management.
Every time you experience success or failure when it comes to motivating people, take note of it, and ask yourself what you learned from the experience. If you can improve on your victories and learn from your mistakes, you’ll be able to get the best from your staff continually.
A motivated workforce is a profitable workforce. The ability to extract maximum effort from employees is crucial to success in business. Taking the time to improve your management skills is possibly the wisest investment you could make in your career.
About Rory Angold
Rory Angold has spent the past 20 years assuming leadership and executive positions within various companies. Mr. Angold worked with Zurich North America, managing and more importantly developing field teams in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. His goal was to connect with automotive dealers and industry partners to help them increase their wealth while managing risks and protecting their assets. Mr. Angold is now serving as Executive Vice President at United Car Care, a company that offers vehicle service contracts that provide reliable protection at an affordable cost.
Related article you may find interesting: “What is Motivation?“