Goals!
Goals aren’t only important on a personal level, but when you’re leading a team, it is important that you set goals for the team to achieve together, and encourage individuals to set their own goals too.

As a manager or leader, you should have open communications with those people who you manage, and know what they’re personal development goals are. You should then tailor workloads and tasks in a way that allows team members to enhance the skills they want to. You should set realistic timelines within which, these goals should be achieved. Make sure goals and accomplishments are recorded – so employees can see what they are doing well at and what areas they need to focus on a little more.

It is also important to see how your team goals fit into the goals of the company as a whole. How will your team accomplishing their goals lead to the company achieving theirs? Cause and effect is a powerful thing. Once people understand how their work fits into the wider picture, and the positive impact it will have, they are more likely to be driven to achieve these goals and deliver at a higher standard. Having these wider company goals also helps to benchmark progress, as the team can see how their work is positively or negatively affecting progress on these goals.

 

Learning and development
Similar to the first point, the learning and development of each person in your team is essential for not only an individual’s performance, but the team’s performance as a whole. Starting off, everyone in the team should pledge to complete a certain number of days of learning and development and have a couple of things in mind for what they would like to achieve in this time.

For example, if someone in the team has a fear of public speaking, they could pledge to dedicate 10 days a year to increasing their ability and confidence in public speaking. This would benefit them as they would be developing an invaluable skill, which will no doubt benefit them in the future. However, the team will also benefit, as this individual will be more likely to put themselves forward for tasks that require public speaking or presenting. The most important point to remember is, the more you sacrifice on your team’s learning and development, the more detrimental it will be for that individual and the team in the long run.

 

Hard work pays off
As managers and leaders, it is important to recognise the hard work and achievements of your team members, individually, and as a whole. The team should never feel as though they aren’t valued and appreciated, as this will make them less likely to want to succeed in future. A sense of accomplishment is a huge driver, and such recognition will push the team to work productively.

I’m not saying you have to reward every member of your team with a pay rise or promotion every time they achieve something big or do something to benefit the team. Rather, small tokens of appreciation like vouchers go a long way. For example, giving a member of your team a £30 gift voucher for a shopping centre of or voucher for a meal for two, will show them that their hard work is valued and will incentivise them to keep working at a high standard. Also, having a reward scheme like this will introduce some friendly competition within the team, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

 

Communication is Key
When leading, open communication is essential. Managers tend to have an element of secrecy and like to keep things quiet from their team – whether that’s something bad an individual has done or something that the team hasn’t done well in.

The more communication there is between you and the team, the more they will know about their progress. It is important to not only inform them when they have done something well, but also when they’ve done something that has hindered progress. Unless you tell them, they won’t know and the team can’t then learn from their mistakes. I’m not saying you should, under any circumstances, name and shame any individual or make anyone feel uncomfortable, but you should go about telling the team of any occurrences when things were not done as they should have been, and how to go about it next time.

Communication in the form of regular meetings, whether that is 1 to 1’s with the people you immediately manage, or small groups with those whom you manage, or a mix of both. The way I would do it is to have weekly meetings with the people who I manage, and then meet each of those individuals once in a fortnight where more personal and private issues can be discussed. By doing this, individuals are able to raise any issues on their own, but also as a team.

Let your team know what they are doing well, and let them know how they can improve, while maintaining a level of professionalism that is necessary for all leaders.

 

Long term gains – invest!
Open communication is useless if you are not prepared to act on the needs of your employees. If budget is tight, you may want to be selective with what you agree to but knowing what they want or need is important and that can only be achieved with open communication. However, if a new tool or some specific training will dramatically increase the productivity of the team and help to boost their performance, you may want to consider implementing it. By introducing such things, it will not only help boost the team’s performance as a direct result of the tool or training, but also because individuals will be able to see that they are being invested in, and this will drive them to work to a high standard to show that they are worth the investment. After all, it serves them well in future, as if they bring up something else they need to boost their performance, you are more inclined to agree to or consider it if they utilised the extra tools or training the previous time.

It is very important to invest in your employees. It shows them that you, as a leader, value them and want to keep them as a member of the team. Small actions really do make the biggest differences.

 

Socialise
As a leader, it is important to get to know your team members. I don’t mean knowing if they prefer tea over coffee, but knowing about them in terms of their family etc. (unless they aren’t comfortable with talking to others about that of course).

Managers are often wary of socialising with the team as they are conscious of the line between personal and professional being blurred, but socialising with your team should be encouraged. Colleagues are more likely to feel valued and as part of a team if you make the effort to get to know them.

The occasional lunch or drink after work will help the team to connect with each other and learn about one another. Another way of socialising with your team is to have regular team building or team away days. Team building days could be as obscure as going and doing tough mudder type exercises, or days where you do activities (out of the office, of course) that relate to the work you do and activities that will benefit your work, for example creativity sessions if you work in campaigning or designing.

Keeping team spirit up is essential for the success of your business and your position as a leader. By following the steps above, you stand in good stead to be the best leader you can be.

 

Are you a leader? Tell us below about more tips and tricks on how to motivate your team! GSY

 

 

Further reading

How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie