Being a manager or a team leader can be difficult to process. While you are in charge of a group of people and have the place of authority, you also have a duty to your employees. In most cases, productivity and employee motivation is a direct reflection of their manager’s mood, experience and overall character.
This can make it difficult for young, inexperienced managers to effectively motivate employees to be engaged and productive. Luckily, employee motivation isn’t anything new in the corporate world, so let’s take a look at some actionable and effective tips that can help you raise productivity and morale across the board.
- It’s not about the money
It’s true that we work for money and the ability to sustain ourselves in a modern capitalist society. However, most employees are unmotivated and lack productivity for very different reasons.
Low salary is very rarely the reason for a lack of productivity, which means you should steer clear of “bribing” employees with bonuses. Instead, communicate your displeasure with their overall (not individual) productivity.
Don’t point fingers at anyone (even if you might know who the real detractors are) and focus on the bigger picture instead. Emphasize you are also an employee like themselves and you are there for them if they need you. This will create a good starting point for your relationship and a foundation upon which productivity can be restored.
- Happiness versus Motivation
Don’t misinterpret employee happiness with motivation and productivity. For example, if you give your employees a box of chocolate each, they will be happier – but not more productive.
Productivity is often associated with professional development, working environment dissatisfaction, coworker misunderstandings, too much overtime, etc. It’swise to openly discuss these topics with your employees in order to determine what the real issue is.
Remember you are also under the microscope of your own manager or CEO. If the employees aren’t productive, the results will reflect that, after which you will have to explain what is going on. Make sure to have the right answers for your own boss and start communicating with your coworkers as soon as possible.
- Be a role-model
As we’ve mentioned before, managers and team leaders are often seen as role-models. Your coworkers, employees and office staff will most likely have aspirations for professional development. This means that they will pay close attention to the way you walk, talk and act with those inferior to you (professionally speaking).
Veronica Wright, CEO of ResumesCentre says: “The better the managers are at their own work, the better their employees will be for it”. Make sure to arm everyone with relevant company information, take your position and job description seriously, as well as smile to everyone. Sometimes all it takes is to look in the mirror and ask yourself what “you” are doing wrong instead of looking for a culprit on the office floor.
- Voicing concerns
It’s quite common for employees to keep their mouths shut when they have something to say – the prospect of being punished is too much to handle. This means that there is often a lot left unsaid and coworker relations tend to tense and buckle under the pressure.
People that don’t talk to each other will often work poorly together, not to mention the fact that important projects rest on their shoulders. Try implementing a feedback-oriented working environment in your office starting with yourself. There is no better way to break the ice than to simply start from your own experiences, thoughts and fears.
Employees that share common issues, goals and clear the air through professional communication are far more likely to be productive. While it may seem silly for grownup people to share thoughts around the table, clearing the air like this can completely transform your office’s workflow.
- Level the playfield
Most office conflicts stem from misunderstandings between employees and management. Managers often forget where they started their career while employees constantly claim their managers doesn’t understand them.
This catch-22 is quite common in the corporate world and is a root cause of poor productivity, low retention rates and a lack of morale. Managers that want to boost their employees’ productivity should work to leveling the playing field between management and employees. Remember you are all employees of the same company – the difference is only in your job description.
If you claim that you are “better” than your staff, it will likely end in a disaster. Pull up a chair, ask your employees how they feel today and ask them if they need help. Chances are that their eyes will widen with disbelief at first, which will lead to a much healthier professional relationship between you.
- Showcase and reward
Lastly, it’s important to share in your successes and take responsibility for your failures. The best and most beloved managers know when to reward someone and when to take the blame. Pointing fingers when going gets tough and claiming the rewards when it strikes gold will quickly erode your employees’ morale and productivity.
Be the example that your employees can really look up to and try to reward their productivity in small but significant ways. Even an “employee of the week” system with a collective clap from everyone can drastically brighten the mood.
James Scott, CEO of EssaySupply notes: “Do what you can to make sure that your employees feel important and that they matter to the company. This is the best way to increase productivity and company loyalty across the board. It will not only make your results shine but also put you in good graces with your own manager for the good work you have done.”
Long-form empowerment (Conclusion)
Employee empowerment only works if you take definitive action – a long-term commitment with a constant risk of failure. However, being on good terms with the people you work with is worth fighting for.
You will not only bring good results to your company but also create friendships with the people you work with. Being casually professional can work just as being strict and to-the-letter. Make sure to strike a good balance and be there for your employees when they need you.