Motivating employees is a crucial part of keeping morale up and maintaining productivity. When you're in a management position, your job is not only to give orders. You must find ways to motivate and inspire your team if you expect excellent results. You need to learn your own management and communication style, then incorporate meaningful ways to inspire employees and make them feel valued.
The first step to motivating employees is learning about yourself and your management style. The more emotionally intelligent you are, the easier it will be to motivate your team. There are four main categories of emotional intelligence factors, according to Harvard psychologist David McClelland: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and social skill. Self-awareness includes the ability to evaluate your own behaviors and recognize how your behaviors and emotions affect others. Social awareness includes having empathy for others, being able to navigate professional and social environments and having a propensity for meeting people's needs. Self-management is being trustworthy, flexible and adaptive while keeping your emotions under control. Social skill involves a number of skills, including communicating, establishing bonds with other people, working as part of a team and being able to diffuse conflicts.
The more emotional intelligence competencies a leader possesses, the more effective that leader will be at motivating employees, says McClelland. A recent study of 4,000 executives analyzed their management styles and emotional intelligence factors. The leaders who possessed the most emotional intelligence competencies led the most effective teams: Their departments outperformed their companies' revenue goals by an average of 15 to 20 percent.
There are several ways to increase your emotional intelligence quotient and inspire employees. First, keep the lines of communication open. Your employees need to understand what is happening within the organization and how they fit into the big picture. Keeping them informed and involved in key decisions help them feel like their presence is valued and appreciated.
Second, never give up on training. Learning the business doesn't end at orientation. Invest in classes, seminars, books and online courses to help your team grow professionally and build confidence.
Be quick to provide feedback. Motivating employees means recognizing their hard work and offering a helping hand when the going gets tough. You should never wait until an employee is doing poorly before providing guidance and feedback. Even with a heavy workload, you must find the time to reflect on each employee's job performance. Regular check-in sessions are effective ways to communicate your needs to the employee and also give them an opportunity to talk about their current projects and challenges.
Finally, celebrate your employees' achievements. Recognition goes a long way toward motivating employees to do better. It need not be an office party for every sales goal met; sending a mass email or providing a small gift to high achievers are simple but effective ways to applaud your team's accomplishments and encourage more excellent work.
No matter your management style, there is one surefire way to motivate employees: Practice what you preach, and treat them the way you'd like them to treat you. A manager who is punctual, polite, considerate, honest and hard-working can expect the same from the team. Motivating employees and keeping them motivated are essential for the overall success of any business.
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