Managers of small teams have the advantage of getting to know their employees on a more personal level since there are so few of them. A small team manager needs to be directly involved with keeping all team members motivated instead of leaving the task to the company at large. Keeping any team motivated is beneficial for both employees and managers. Here are some easy ways in which one can motivate a small team:
Visibly show recognition for hard work
In every company there are inherent types of recognition that employees receive in the form of healthcare benefits, yearly company awards, flexible work hours and so forth. This inherent recognition should not be the only type your team sees. Employees need to know their importance and how valuable they are. Get to know what type of recognition each employee responds to the best as not every person is the same. Some experts have come across the 50/30/20 rule of recognition. 30% of recognition should come from peers, 20% should come from the company itself and the remaining 50% from the manager. Recognition from the manager is especially valuable because this is the person that employees are most likely aiming to please and who hands down promotions. It stands to reason then that he or she should also be the one handing out praise for hard work.
One of the simplest ways to hand out recognition is to provide opportunities. Opportunities do not have to involve money or be linked to money. Opportunities can come in the form of providing an employee with the chance to take control of a very important customer profile or giving an introduction to an influential person in the company or industry.
Happy employees always equal productive employees. Making sure that each team member knows how important they are to the success of a project is essential to creating this happiness.
Know what serves as demotivation and what does not
There is a misconception that money is a big issue when it comes to motivation. In fact, it is the lack of money that serves as a demotivator. If giving more money is not an option, find out what things you need to avoid in order to keep motivation levels high.
The underutilisation of individuals can be a big demotivational factor. Underutilisation occurs when people are not allowed to apply their abilities to the fullest. Also, when employees are not being involved in decision-making processes it can make them feel powerless and mistrusted by their seniors. Focus especially on giving access to decision-making that centres around how an individual can get work done more efficiently as it provides a sense of control.
There is also such a thing as an employee that has too little stress. Too much stress can be paralysing and lead to ineffective work, but too little stress can cause procrastination, sloth like behaviour and a sense of entitlement. Aim to find a happy medium between the two.
If one works extremely hard on a project but see no results, it can also be demotivating. Provide opportunities for employees to be involved in work that has tangible results. Even if tangible results are not possible due to the type of project the person was involved with, make sure the individual knows what effect their work had on what was achieved by providing demonstrations or examples of the result.
Involvement is key
Some of the things that can serve as motivation to team members is being able to express creativity through new ideas and being involved with challenging projects. There are many ways in which you can help achieve these two things. The main way is to always involve all employees in processes. Ask employees how they want to do their work. This helps employees feel empowered and thus more likely to be loyal. Hearing each employee’s different viewpoint on how they can do their work in the best way possible, based on personal experience, can be a learning curve for you as a manager and improve processes in the future.
Try to get employees to provide solutions instead of only focusing on the problems. If employees are forced to focus on solutions, it helps them to employ their creativity. Also, by moving the focus away from problems there is less chance that employees will become negative about their work.
Meet with employees on a regular basis to explain strategic decisions being made within the company in a free and open way. This way they feel more invested in the company and in turn more motivated to do what is best for the company. It will also help to increase engagement from employees when it is time to execute the decisions that have been made – a win-win situation for both employee and manager.