The 3 Secrets of Team Motivation

Are workers telling the truth when they say they are ill? This question was posed on the Money Programme on BBC Television in December 2004. British Bosses are reporting that more and more of their staff appear to be skiving off with faked illnesses and many firms are taking new steps to crack down on malingerers. Research by the Confederation of British Industry suggests that workplace absence is on the rise for the first time in five years. Last year we were off sick on average for 7.2 days up from 6.8 the previous year. It costs UK businesses £11.75bn a year, the CBI says. The CBI also estimates that 15% of all illness is due to people taking days off when they are not really ill.

Now while I accept that there will always people who take time off work for no good reason, I believe managers need to take a long hard look at how they manage their people in the first place. Perhaps if they made the workplace a far better place to be then a lot less people would take a "sickie."

If you want a highly motivated team who don't take time off work, don't keep looking for other jobs and make a positive contribution to your business there are three things you need to do.

#1 Spend some quality time

I didn't say "quantity time" I said "quality time." One or two minutes of quality time on a regular basis are far more productive than a one hour review every year. You need to get to know your team better and they need to get to know you. It will help you build a relationship with the individual. You'll gain a much better understanding of them and how they're handling the job. It will also give the impression that you care about the individual and show that you're there to help with problems both personal and business.

Spending quality time will encourage opinions and ideas to flow from them and allows you to explain the company's mission. It gives them a feeling of being in on things which is a big motivator. It will also help you build an "early warning system" of any problems both business and personal. Finally, it builds team spirit and morale.

#2 Give feedback and coach

You need to regularly tell each member of your team when they're doing well and when not so well. I read some recent research that suggested 65% of employees in the US received no recognition at work in the past year. My experience tells me that it's much the same throughout the world and much worse in some countries.

Some managers still believe - "why should I praise people when they're only doing what they're paid to do." It's also important to tell people when they're not performing. There are too many managers who either ignore poor behaviour or come down on the person like a ton of bricks. There are particular ways to give feedback and coach and they're described in detail in the book - How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team.

#3 Be a believer

We're now getting into the area of "Empowerment" which was first introduced in the 1080's and became a bit of a management buzzword. However, I believe that it's one of the most promising but least understood concepts in management today.

I'm a fairly down to earth practical sort of person (probably comes from my engineering background). I'm not big into management theories unless I can see the benefits for me - I see a great deal of benefit for managers and team leaders in Empowerment.

Empowerment is about utilising the knowledge, skill, experience and motivational power that's already within your people. The majority of people in teams and organisations throughout the world are severely underutilised. Your team have probably more to offer in terms of skill, knowledge and experience and if you utilize that, you will achieve your business goals and you'll motivate them.

Alan Fairweather is the author of four ebooks in the "How to get More Sales" series. Lots of practical actions you can take to build your business and motivate your team.- http://www.howtogetmoresales.com

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