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Top five ways you can motivate your team

Apr 30, 2019


Written by Calmer - partners of The Brew

Growing a team is both a rewarding and challenging process for small businesses. It signifies business success, but at the same time, it comes with a set of new responsibilities, including motivating your team.

To get the most out of your team, we at Calmer recommend a positive approach. As a business empowering entrepreneurs and purposeful teams to nurture good mental health and wellbeing, the best approaches are made with care, openness, and trust.

Here are a number of different ways you can positively motivate your team:


1. Check in with your team regularly

The first step any good manager can make to motivate their team is to regularly check in with them. Regular 1:1 sessions are crucial, and it’s important that you commit to these when they are booked in. Team members will feel encouraged to receive your full attention, and may share information with you that will show you the best way to motivate them further.

It’s also worth implementing an indirect approach of checking in with your team. This could be as simple as an anonymous feedback box, which is checked once a week, or a ranking system where staff can report how happy they feel at work on a scale of 1 to 10. These are quick and easy ways to learn about how everyone is feeling, without singling anyone out.


2. Create clear communication channels

Another foundational step to motivating your team is to implement clear and diverse communication channels. It’s important to recognise the neurodiversity of your team, and that includes figuring out their preferred communication methods.

For example, a designer may prefer visual instructions on how to carry out a task, whereas an office manager may prefer a bullet-point list sent over email. 

You may also want to consider the timings of your communications with individual team members. Try to communicate during agreed working hours, especially if you provide flexible working hours or work with freelancers. Of course, you can make an exception when needed, but generally, being conscious of their time will be valued.

And finally, it may be worth thinking about the formality of your communications. Simple language choices can motivate or demotivate staff - we recommend matching your language with your overall office culture. This means if your workplace has a strict suit-and-tie policy, it may be worth writing polite emails, booking in telephone calls in advance, and generally being formal.

If you work in a less formal environment, you may find it easier to communicate off-the-cuff with staff, hosting impromptu meetings, and bouncing ideas around.

It will take time to properly suss this out, but once you have a system that works, your team will show an increase in productivity, and have higher spirits at work.


3. Put trust in your staff

When growing a business, it can be difficult to let other people take control of tasks you may have previously managed. However, it is important to practice letting go - and giving your staff the opportunity to prove their capability in order to build trust.

There’s two great reasons as to why this works. The first is that you trust in your hiring process - you’ve chosen the right person for the job, so let them flourish. By giving them control over a task or project, you are showing that you have faith in them and they will usually do a better job than if you micromanaged them.

The second is the Ben Franklin effect. This is a psychological phenomenon that shows people are more likely to do favours for you when they have been entrusted with doing a favour in the first place. Put simply: the more you ask someone to do something for you, the more willing they will be to do other things too.


4. Encourage collaboration

When we hire staff, we usually do so by fitting a person to a set of skills and qualifications. We look for someone who will exceed at their job role, and be an expert in their field. 

But have you ever considered what would happen if you asked these people to work together?

Small businesses often build their teams out in silos. It makes sense to start with - each person is assigned a distinct role and business area to take care of. But this can reduce the collaboration opportunities within your team.

In order to get the best of both worlds, try inviting team members to work on projects together - especially if there is a business aim involved. Someone who works in Sales can learn a lot from the business’ Bookkeeper; the Events Coordinator could gain great insights from a Social Media Executive. 

Collaboration can answer unasked questions and strengthen your business dramatically.


5. Provide learning opportunities

Many managers believe the only way to motivate their team is through payment. This is a blinkered mindset as there are many other non-monetary ways to motivate staff.

Taking from Mayo’s theory of Human Relations, one very simple way to motivate staff is to take an active interest in each and every one of them. Showing interest in the individual can not only produce a closer relationship - and trust - with that person, but it also provides you with opportunities to make the most of their skills and interests.

One way to build on this is to provide relevant learning opportunities. You may find your Project Manager has a hidden talent for writing, so why not send them on a copywriting course? They can hone their skills and add value to their work for you.

You may also consider group learning opportunities. Taking the entire business to events such as a TED Talk or a business-related expo can provide new insight into your industry as well as facilitating an opportunity to strengthen friendships in a new environment.


About Calmer

Calmer is a leading UK organisation empowering entrepreneurs and purposeful teams to nature good mental health and wellbeing. They provide digital courses, workplace training, events, workshops and 1:1 sessionsfor entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business owners. They believe a happy mind makes for a happy business.

Find us on our website,  join our Facebook Community, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.