AS A leader, you can have a major impact on the motivation of your team during these difficult times.
Try these practical strategies to engage your people and make them results-focused.
Leading individual members
Agree on plenty of short-term, achievable goals. Make sure your team members taste success. It has a wonderful flavour and they will want more. Success breeds success-oriented behaviour.
Regularly review and praise progress. People need to know how they are doing and they respond positively to attention and supportive feedback.
Ask about and make time to talk through concerns and anxieties. Show you are interested and that you care about your team member’s worries. You may not have the solution, but you can certainly lighten the load by talking things through.
Paint a positive picture of the future. Describe your team member’s role in it and in getting there.
Inject a sense of pace and focus. Challenge each team member with tight deadlines and no compromises on quality. Keep raising the bar. This keeps energy and concentration levels high and gets rid of thoughts of “how quiet it is”.
Encourage innovation. Discuss what can be done to improve, increase or change. This creates a “can do” environment.
Focus on further improving customer service. This applies to both internal and external customers. Repeat business and supporting your internal colleagues is critical to long-term business success.
Leading the team
All of the above points are relevant. In addition:
Turn those short-term individual goals into team goals. Knit everyone’s objectives together so that the team works cohesively and supports one another.
Regularly review and publicly praise team progress. Let your people know they are a great team. This instils confidence to face the challenges ahead together.
Kick-start projects that have been on the back burner. This will remove down time.
Get your house in order. Involve everyone in getting all the procedural tasks up-to-date so that your organisation is shipshape when things get busy again.
Cross-train now. Develop individual and team competence so that you are strong for the future. People respond enthusiastically where they see they are developing their knowledge and skills.
As a team, talk through concerns and anxieties. Discuss what to do about them and how the team can support its members.
Celebrate team success. Spend some team time together, outside of work, if possible. Switch off and have some fun together, especially if the team has met some of its goals.
Strategies for senior managers
Pay attention to all of the above and the following points:
Be visible, enthusiastic and engaged every day. If you are, then everyone else will be. It’s infectious!
Avoid appearing to be locked away in secretive discussions. This creates anxiety, so leave your door open.
Be positive about the future. Talk constantly and enthusiastically about your vision of the future for “our” business.
Create the right environment. Involve your management team in creating a supportive, focused working environment with high levels of two-way communication.
Set your managers challenging deadlines. Instil a sense of urgency to achieve business results. They will cascade this to their team members.
Liaise with your senior colleagues. You need to ensure that you are all communicating consistent, upbeat messages.
Talk and act courageously. Adopt the mindset that leading in normal times is easy. Now is your opportunity to show what you are made of. Your guiding principle is “action, not reflection”.