Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Motivate Your Team

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.

                                                                       Vince Lombardi

An effective team needs leadership to keep it on the right track. Motivation is the passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. The team should be driven to achieve beyond expectations, pursue goals with energy and persistence and have optimism even in the face of failure and organizational commitment. Team members are motivated by a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement. The leader must seek out creative challenges that let the team members take pride in a job well done and will bring out the energy level in people to succeed. Great leaders are eager to explore new approaches to finding ways to achieve the goals. They are forever raising the performance bar, and they like to keep score in a very fair manor.

During performance reviews, team members with high levels of motivation might be asked to stretch themselves to mentor other team members. These members will also want to track their progress, their team’s progress and their organizations’ progress. Team members with high motivation remain optimistic even when the odds are against them. In such cases, the leader must use achievement motivation to overcome the frustration and depression that comes after a set back or failure. Some team members would have blamed the failure on outside circumstances beyond their control. The leader needs to use the failure as a learning experience and emphasize other progress made by describing the experience as this was a learning experience and now we have learned so much from it. Team members who love their jobs for the work itself often feel committed to the organization and make the work possible. Committed people are likely to stay with the organization even when they are pursued by other distractions. It is not difficult to understand how a motivated team translates to success. They will set the performance bar high for themselves and for the organization.

Making the team member’s drive to surpass goals can be contagious. Leaders that can motivate people can often build an effective team around these traits. And of course, optimism and organizational commitment are fundamental to leadership. Consider the challenges of leading and motivating an effective team. A team leader must be able to sense and understand the viewpoints of everyone on the team and when to give effective feedback. They need to know when to push for better performance and when to hold back.

To motivate, a leader must be a good persuader so that the team will follow them. If you do not have any followers, your team will not be successful. A good persuader knows when to make an emotional plea or when an appeal to reason will work better. The motivation process is not easy. It takes time, and most of all commitment. But the benefits that come from having a motivated team, both for the individual and for the organization, make it well worth the effort. To motivate an individual employee by establishing goals, the leader must consider the employee’s needs. Goals that address company expectations may clearly identify planned actions and outcomes, but do not motivate. However, goals that also address individual performance may motivate an employee. When work-related goals link individual performance with company expectations, the employee sees the leader recognizes their performance and may be motivated by that contribution.

To effectively motivate employees, a leader must consider each employee individually to determine their needs and values and decide where they will fit in as a benefit to the company. Motivation should be a positive force that moves one into action. This process gives behavior purpose and direction. Motivation will either be an internal or external force. The internal force will drive the employee to perform and the external force will impress performance from outside the employee’s control.

Robert J. Dahl