5 Ways to Create a Motivational Environment That Your Employees Will Love
As a young manager, I was lucky. Whether managing a construction crew, a union mechanics shop, or a staff within a Fortune 500 headquarters, I was able to create a motivational work environment – although at the time I did not realize why! Now as I look back, I see five things that worked for me that can also work for you.
First, ask your team what motives them. This is so simple, yet few managers really know what specifically motivates their employees. Gather your team together and brainstorm a list of the things that motivate them. Ask them to rank order the list. Keep the list handy so you can increase each items impact and frequency within your workplace.
Next, ask your team what demotivates them. This list will differ somewhat from the first. Rank order the list. Keep this list handy and work on how you can decrease each items impact and frequency within your workplace. This is particularly important if you wish to retain your top talent, for it takes very few burrs in the saddle for your best employees to decide to ride another horse!
Third, simplify processes. Ask yourself and your team what takes too long, what requires too many signoffs, where are you wasting money and time, and where are things just too complicated. Ask for volunteers to create action plans on how to simplify each process.
Fourth, listen – just listen. Few things motivate employees more than to know that their bosses really listen to their needs, ideas, dreams, and complaints. One of the biggest areas within my executive coaching services is to help leaders improve their listening skills. Great leaders also understand that their biggest payoff for improving their listening may not be at work, but will be at home through a stronger relationship with their spouse, children, and friends.
Fifth, eliminate fear. A sad fact in the workplace is that most employees fear their boss, not in their relationship, but in your reaction to their mistakes. Even if you are a kind, generous, wonderful boss (and I am sure your are), you are still the boss and your employees fear your reaction to their efforts, particularly their failures. You must allow your employees the freedom to fail and try again if you wish to create a motivational environment.
Finally, allow your team to arrange the workplace to best meet their needs. Often this is an simple as moving a piece of equipment to another location, slightly modifying an assembly line, or adding color, lights, or a personal touch. Some companies give each employee a small decoration budget for their workplace. Remember, the look, feel, smell, and overall physical layout significantly impacts your team’s motivation.
Creating a motivational work environment is not about shouting slogans, sponsoring beer blasts, or casual dress days. It is consistently staying attuned to and actively addressing the specific needs of your team.
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