During my conversations with leaders, one leadership topic keeps showing up. Specifically, how a leader could create an environment that encourages learning.
It’s not as simple as just providing training for your team. I know of many leaders who’d gladly send their staff for training; even providing time and funding for them. While emphasising training is good, that alone would not create an environment that encourages learning.
It’s not that difficult, and you don’t have to do it alone!
One major challenge of all team leaders is to keep their teams motivated. A motivated team would not only give their best but also stay together longer.
I was privileged to be with highly-motivated teams and have led several ones too. But not all teams started out that way.
One team that I led was particularly challenging because they were already demoralised when I took over as the team leader!
To make matters worse, the team was responsible for some of the critical support functions of the organisation! They were performing what was required of them but were not enjoying their work; some were even negative or critical of the organisation. Anyone could sense the “gloom” atmosphere the moment they stepped into the office.
It’s hard to have a good team. I’m not saying it’s rare; I’m saying it takes an effort to nurture and maintain one.
Some of us have been with teams where the leader is only interested in getting the job done; in which we’re mere tools for the leader to achieve his/her goals. Chances are, I would move on as soon as a good opportunity comes along.
Most leaders are not like that, I’m sure. We want our teams to feel belong, to have a sense of camaraderie, be committed to the team, possibly willing to die for the team; or maybe not, but willing to go several extra miles would be great!
Motivating a team takes effort. We already know that money is not a good motivator, and rewards tended to feel superficial. So what could leaders do?
It turns out, one of the simplest ways to motivate your team is to show them you value them!
Not just value their contributions, though that’s important. Value them as a person, for who they are!
There are many ways a leader could show his team he values them. Here are five simple ways that do not require lots of efforts, but would go a long way towards motivating your team.
You have probably heard the saying, that “Leadership is getting things done.” or, “Leadership is getting things done through other people.”
A good leader, however, needs to realise that leadership is as much about the people as about the tasks. You can only succeed as a leader if your team succeed!
I have worked with many leaders who, though they understood the need for their teams to be successful, did not know how best to help their teams succeed. Other than the usual “plan”, “budget”, “tasks”, “KPI’s”, they didn’t know what else they could do. They might have success in the short-term, but conflicts, burnouts, discouragement, and turnovers within the team were common.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
In order for your team to succeed, they need five things from you.