Workforce has the biggest impact on whether your services survive and thrive. Mark Topps reflects on how to motivate and empower teams.
Our workforce has the biggest impact on whether our services survive and thrive, and whilst many of us spend large amounts of time reviewing our recruitment processes, how many of us stop and reflect on how we motivate and empower our team?
Motivation and empowerment are two factors that have been proven to increase productivity, improve retention and morale and create stronger teams. In this week’s blog, I look at ten ways we can motivate and empower our teams.
It’s important to know the difference between motivation and empowerment because they are interconnected and similar.
Motivation is the process of creating an environment that encourages and inspires employees to work towards common goals.
Empowerment is the process of giving employees the autonomy, resources and authorisation to make decisions and achieve goals.
Clear communication ensures your staff know what’s expected of them, changes to their role or who they’re supporting and organisational updates. Evidence has shown that staff who receive clear communication are more likely to perform better in their roles. Communication is a two-way street, and we should foster an environment where staff feel comfortable raising ideas, thoughts and opinions.
Setting realistic goals aligned with the vision and values of the organisation ensures that staff have clarity on what’s expected of them and gives them something to work towards. Staff should have goals that encourage them to work independently and as part of a team. Individual goals that challenge someone will encourage them to stretch themselves, potentially learning new skills and knowledge. Teamwork ensures collaboration and will lead to improved trust and respect.
Having a space for open and honest feedback allows managers to provide feedback to their staff and address any issues of concern. Positive feedback and recognition will increase motivation, empower staff and make them feel valued. Addressing areas of concern may not be the easiest of conversations but it will help our teams improve their skills and grow professionally. If poor performance is not dealt with, it can decrease motivation and even fester and bring the performance of the whole team down.
Celebrating successes, hard work and individual or work goals can help to motivate staff. Recognising and rewarding achievements do not have to be financially based, it can be through recognition in a team meeting, a thank you note or just verbal feedback.
Last be not least, you must lead by example. As a leader, you need to create the culture you want to see so that staff know what good looks like. A negative approach will bring down the mood of the team quickly, so as a leader or manager you need to be enthusiastic and engaged with your work. It’s important that there’s transparency and honesty from the top alongside accountability. When employees see that their leaders are taking responsibility, they’re more likely to do the same thing.
We know that empowerment comes from the autonomy to make decisions and being able to lead on tasks and projects. By relinquishing control and delegating tasks and responsibilities to your team members, you can encourage them to learn new skills, own their successes and be responsible for their own work. It’s important that we align tasks and projects with our teams’ skills so that we’re not setting them up to fail.
Providing the tools and resources for people to succeed is vital. I’m sure we have all had experiences of not having the right resources to do the job and remember how this made us feel. When reviewing the tools and resources for a task or project, also consider the training and learning aspects that the staff members may need for the job and the budget allocated for that development.
Encouraging collaboration naturally increases communication between colleagues. During collaborative tasks or projects, teams should be encouraged to work together, share ideas and communicate openly and transparently. Collaboration is not only good for team building but also allows skills and knowledge to be shared which will naturally up skill some members of staff.
Encouraging team members to take calculated risks and try new experiences will create a feeling of success and ambition. This will help staff to become more innovative and creative. You can go one step further than just encouraging risks and trying new experiences by asking your staff members to share their ideas and the lessons they learnt. This encourages learning from reflective practice and collaboration with other colleagues and stakeholders.
Create a culture based on learning and not blame. We know people make mistakes - it happens to all of us! There has been a big culture shift within most sectors to use mistakes as learning opportunities, rather than focusing on the person who made them. A culture of learning from mistakes allows teams to grow and improve and means that people will be honest if they have made a mistake and not cover it up out of fear of being reprimanded.
Motivation and empowerment are two intertwined factors that have been proven to increase productivity and retention. However, to get it right, we need to ensure we provide the tools, resources, budgets and autonomy for our teams to feel motivated and empowered in their roles.
Remember, positive feedback and praise goes a long way, but constructive feedback will develop skills and knowledge and progress people within their careers.
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