The question I’m most often asked by managers is “How do I motivate my team?” Keeping a team focused and moving towards a goal, is a pivitol part of having a successful team and business, it’s no wonder managers are eager to know how they can master the art of motivation. The answer is in the word itself, with the word motivation coming from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move.
First, it’s important to understand that people motivate themselves. They make conscious and unconscious choices to want to do things and achieve a goal. Therefore, the best way to encourage people to be motivated, is to create a motivational environment.
There are many things a manager can do to create this type of atmosphere. One aspect is ensuring people feel valued through encouraging team members to provide input and contribute. People also feel valued if they are recognised for their efforts. This may be through a simple thank you and/or compliment or a more formal means of recognition where relevant.
This is where it’s important to be aware that people are motivated by different things. This is very much the case when it comes to recognition. For example, some people revel in being publically recognised and made a big deal over, where as someone else would be demotivated by this approach and prefer a quiet pat on the back.
A common way of motivating people is through monetary remuneration. Bonuses and incentives have long been a means of keeping people working to achieve goals however, not everyone is money driven. Some people prefer additional responsibility and will take on additional tasks without any monetary compensation, simply because the autonomy and trust placed in them is motivation in itself.
Many people are motivated by the opportunity for self-development through training and opportunity. When people feel as if they are growing and improving, they are more inclined to be motivated.
Understanding what demotivates people is also important. Practices such as micromanaging can have a detrimental effect on the motivation of a team. People don’t want to feel they are being watched constantly, with little room to move and their creativity and personality stifled.
Overloading people with unrealistic workloads can also destroy morale and motivation, as can underloading. When people don’t have tasks that keep them moving, challenged and interested, motivation levels can take a hit.
While there is a long list of factors that lead to motivation or demotivation, the key is undoubtedly clear. A manager or leader must be ever mindful of the environment or atmosphere they are creating and making it one in which team members make a conscious choice to want to be motivated.
Whether you believe a person is born a leader, naturally having leadership attributes or, a person who has learned these skills through theory and experience, there are certainly a combination of leadership characteristics that a good leader has. These include; empathy, flexibility, being forward thinking and innovative to name a few.
There are however, three characteristics that can make a good leader, great.
A great leader is accessible and easy to approach in any situation. Their team feel comfortable to ask questions and to bring issue to their attention as they arise which can foster an open and supportive culture. If the team also feel safe to share ideas with the leader, this encourages contribution and collaboration making the team stronger as a result.
No one willingly follows a person who lacks confidence. This isn’t to be confused with being cocky or arrogant but having a certain assurance in oneself can be attractive and reassuring to a team. Of course a leader needs to remain open to feedback and input from others but showing no sign of doubt or uncertainty can boost the confidence of a team.
Great leaders are also confident and positive about situations, the future and in the people they lead. Their belief and conviction is encouraging, particularly in tough or challenging times.
There is nothing worse than being unsure or nervous about what mood or reaction one can expect from their leader on any given day. Regardless of what is happening in their personal lives or the pressure they are under, a leader’s response and reaction must always be steady and in line with the team’s values and mission. As a result, they are dependable and the team feel safe in their presence rather than walking on eggshells.
Consistency also means being fair and equal with every person within the team, regardless of their position, history or relationship with the leader. They treat everyone with the same level of respect and hold people equally accountable.
A great leader is always looking to grow and develop their skills. They understand the leadership characteristics they are personally strong and capable in and take action to improve those that may need strengthening.
There is no doubt being approachable, exuding confidence and unswerving consistency, can help build trust in a leader. Trust is a key in great leadership, without it, leadership is difficult if not impossible.
There are many reasons customers experience poor service in a retail, sales and service business including; a lack of resources, outdated policies and procedures and poor choices of behaviour made by staff to name a few. There are however, several widespread causes of the provision of poor service.
The first is a lack of training of staff in the fundamentals of customer service. Staff must be skilled in areas such as how to be polite, professional and effective communication. If they don’t have an awareness and understanding of these and other essential elements, inadequate service can be the result, simply because they don’t have the skills.
In some instances staff may be well trained however, if management are not clear on the standard of service the business expects to be provided to its customers, staff don’t know exactly what is required of them. They haphazardly provide customers with the level of service they feel comfortable with, which may or may not be at an appropriate level.
In other cases, there may be little or no accountability to these standards and are therefore disregarded by staff. Accountability includes being corrected or coached when the standards of service are not met or, when customers are not served to the level expected by the business. Accountability also includes positive feedback, recognition and/or reward when staff do a great job of serving customers well.
This leads to a major factor influencing the level of service provided to customers and that is, how the staff are treated by their managers and the business in general. If morale is low, as a result of management continuously disrespecting staff, they will have minimal enthusiasm to want to do the right thing by the business or its customers. Ultimately if staff are treated well, they are more likely to treat customers well.
As a customer, we often look at the person serving us poorly and place the blame wholly and solely on them however, consider what is behind the poor service. Do they even know what good service looks like? Have they been trained to provide quality service? Do they have clear service standards to follow and are they held accountable to standards such as being applauded when they do a great job? Lastly, are they treated respectfully by management, in a manner in which the business would like to see customers treated? If the answer is no to any of these questions, staff are not completely empowered to provide customers with a good service experience. When staff have the right tools and right the support, they are better equipped to make good customer service choices.