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5 Strategies Smart Leaders Use to Motivate their Staff

Leadership that motivates is hard to define, but these five simple tips can help savvy managers keep staff on track during the good times and the bad.

During times of stress, online distraction or economic downturn, it can be hard to motivate staff as a modern manager. But it’s simple if you follow our five top tips for keeping your workforce engaged. Savvy managers will need to read these if you want to stay ahead of the game.

How Smart Leaders Motivate Their Entire Staff

All leaders know that one of the most important parts of skilful leadership is keeping staff engagement high. But it is also one of the most elusive skills to hone, as it involves understanding and influencing people on an individual level. Whether you manage a small, close-knit team in an SME or a more disparate team in a larger organisation, you can benefit from our five simple strategies for keeping staff motivated at work.

1. Learn Your Staff Types

A simple tool for understanding your staff’s different personality types is a Myers-Briggs test, which can tell you very quickly whether an individual is outgoing, or more introverted, whether they prefer coaching or a challenge, and whether structure works better than freedom on a task-by-task basis. This makes delegation not just more effective, but a pleasure for the staff who receive a task in a manner they can understand and enjoy.

2. Delegate Smart

Following on from the above, once you know your staff’s motivators, you can delegate more effectively than ever before. If you work with extroverts, you can get workers enthused about a project with a brainstorming meeting, lots of freedom for creativity, and ambitious targets. If you’re managing introverts, you can ensure high productivity with a clearly delineated task, focused targets and plenty of planning.

How you delegate is as important as what you delegate. If your employees enjoy creativity and hate data, this reveals not just the approach to take, but who to delegate specific projects to. Some staff crave responsibility for status, whereas others may want room for innovation and less oversight. The key to great leadership is often delegation.

3. Reward Right
Just as delegation should be individualized, so should the reward. Not every employee appreciates a speech, an award and being applauded in front of their peers. In fact, a small gesture like a card, or a simple ‘thank-you’ might appeal much more to shy, or target-driven staff. Considering developing a range of incentive schemes that suits the different motivators each of your team members has and think about how you’re going to reward an individual before you delegate a task, keeping this approach consistent for future praise.Your staff will thank you for it.

4. Show You’re Human

One very important part of great leadership that motivates staff, is communication. Yes, knowing staff, delegating well and rewarding correctly works wonders. But how you come across, and how you manage your duties can also impact on how staff feel about their job. Most workers attribute motivation to their immediate line manager and, more than any other significant factor, poor line management is usually given as the top reason for job movement.

So knowing this, don’t be afraid to regularly communicate with team members for short, informal catch-ups. You aren’t appraising or delegating, but you are spending valuable time with the people who matter most.

5. Loyalty

A final factor that will keep staff on track is loyalty. If you have a performance related issue, you’ll need to address it with your staff. If you aren’t happy about a task, raise it with the employee. But as a manager, one of the most important qualities to show is loyalty and trustworthiness. So don’t criticize one team member in front of another, and show support and loyalty for everyone under your care. Consistency of character and empathy are essential leadership qualities, so don’t be afraid to show them.

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