You put a lot into your business – time, money, passion, and effort. You’ve done a good job hiring the right people – but ensuring they perform at their best can be tricky, especially in tough times.  Often, the problem lies in a lack of motivation, so learning to motivate your team is an invaluable skill.

These five steps will help you motivate any team, especially in a small business.

    1. More Autonomy: Assuming you’ve hired the right team that you can trust, it’s both discouraging and difficult for them to perform if you are micromanaging everything they do.  Give them some breathing room to execute tasks their way and add their own flare. Micromanaging is both bad for your team’s spirits, as well as effectively managing your own time. Are you a micromanager? Find out here.
    2. Tie Company Performance to Employee Success: It’s important to show your employees that as the company grows, they will grow with it. The best way to do this is company stock options or performance bonuses. This way – the employees can mentally form a direct correlation between the quality of their work and the benefit they receive. While it should be used sparingly, sometime’s a salary isn’t enough to motivate your employee to go above and beyond.
    3. Seek out Feedback: Sometimes employees can have valuable suggestions that they may be hesitant to share. This can be remedied by seeking out their feedback, either directly or anonymously, to improve the work environment or hear out potential strategic moves. When an employee feels that their opinion is valued, they will be more likely to work harder and emotionally invest more in your company.
    4. Be Specific About Expectations: It can be confusing when a set of clear goals and designated responsibilities have not been assigned. Putting your employees in ambiguous situations with undecided end results too frequently can lead them to become overly conservative and get less done. This can be because they are either confused or unsure of the purpose of their tasks. Being specific about your expectations gives your team a clear picture they can work towards.
    5. Give Frequent Praise, Take Responsibility for Mistakes: In Good to Great, Jim Collins uses this concept to describe what an ideal leader of a great corporation looks like. A great leader will give praise to his team when the company is going well but takes the blame when things go wrong. This environment shields your employees from unjustified discouragement, ties them to company success, and helps you reflect on the long-term strategy of your firm.
What's your reaction?