How do I motivate my team? If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that; well you know how the saying goes… I would have more money than I know what to do with.
As a motivational keynote speaker and coach, getting and keeping people and teams motivated is one of the most common questions I am asked. And, it’s one of the biggest challenges that leaders and executives face. For these leaders, it is a constant struggle to first get their team motivated, and then to keep them motivated. This is all in hopes of achieving one good month of growth, that may eventually turn into a string of good months. As leaders, we know a highly motivated team will lead to growth, record profitability and a fat bottom line!
So if the result of a motivated team is so great, why is motivation so difficult? And why is it a constant challenge? Well first, let’s back up and define motivation. Exactly what does it mean to be motivated? My favorite way to define motivation is the internal drives that initiates the process that guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. I like that definition, because I believe as leaders that is what we are trying to do. We want to build a team of people who consistently and enthusiastically take steps and actions toward achieving goals.
Sounds good, right? So then why do we struggle? Why is doing this such a challenge? Because as leaders, we are under the false impression that motivation is something we can do or give to our teams. The truth is, it is not. In truth, motivation is an inside job. A job that can only be done, mastered and kept consistent by the person that needs to be motivated.
Our job as leaders is to create cultures of motivation. Cultures that support people’s efforts to be inspired, positive, and to keep trying, even when things get tough. When we create a culture of motivation, those people who have the desire to be motivated will easily rise to the occasion. And those that don’t, won’t. At the end of the day, whether someone is or is not motivated is their choice.
Without a culture of motivation, even our most inspired and motivated people will struggle. So again, while we may not be able to actually motivate our teams, we can build an environment that helps those with internal drive rise to the occasion.
So how do we build a culture of motivation? Take these 4 simple steps and you’ll see the motivation of your team begin to rise.
1. People Support What They Help Create
If you want people to be motivated, if you want them to be excited, passionate and keep getting back up no matter how tough the fight, then you need to give them skin in the game. They need to have a say in how things are done in their department; how their goals are set; who they will call on; how their week will look; and so on. People are motivated by the feeling of having a say in their careers and the decisions being made. When they create it, they own it. And thus, they will be motivated to support it.
2. Celebrate Forward Movement
Not everyone progresses at the same rate or the same level. So, don’t just celebrate the winners. Celebrate each and every member of your team for the progress they are making. As long as they are going forward, they are showing you that they are putting an effort in, continuing to try, and staying the course.
The more, as a leader, you support forward movement, the more of it you will see. So sure, celebrate the big ones, and the strong leaders, but don’t forget the rest of the team and those just starting out or new to the game. Help them to stay motivated by being sincerely and genuinely enthusiastic about each forward step they take.
3. Learn To Love Accountability
You will love accountability, and so will your team, when you as a sales leader use it correctly. Accountability is about learning what actions your sales people are taking, and what results they are getting from those actions. Armed with that information, you can help your sales team understand what they are doing well, and where they are struggling.
Accountability, at its best, is a learning tool. When you understand where and how your team members are spending their time wisely and where they are wasting it; what specific actions are getting them results, and which are not; you have the information you need to help them become more effective and efficient at their jobs. Accountability is nothing more than a tool to help people consistently improve. And what’s more motivating than constant and consistent improvement?
4.Dive Deep On Non Performance
Separate lack of skills or knowledge from discipline issues. Nothing is more demotivating to a team than working with team members who are clearly not doing the work, and then having a leader who does not address the situation. Motivated people want to be successful. And, they realize it takes each and every member of the team fully engaged to do that.
As sales leaders, it is our job to help our teams stay motivated by diving deep on performance issues. We need to understand if lack of performance is skill based (and if it is, then coach and support the individual) or discipline based. If it is a discipline problem, then one of the strongest ways we can ensure we help our sales people stay motivated is to address discipline issues quickly, strongly and with complete confidentiality.
Yes, motivation may be an inside job, but as leaders we can influence and impact our teams to get and stay motivated. While we may not be able to do the job for them, we can create and build cultures that ensure those that are motivated can thrive. And those that choose not be, can find employment with our competition!
Motivational Keynote Speaker & Business Growth Expert, Meridith Elliott Powell, works with clients to help them instill ownership at every level to ensure profits at every turn. Meridith is the author of several books, including her latest, Own It: Redefining Responsibility – Stories of Power, Purpose & Freedom. When not keynoting and leading workshops, she looks for inspiration cycling, golfing or hiking her favorite trail. http://meridithelliottpowell.com