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8 Motivation Strategies for first time leaders that work

Knowing how to motivate each person on a team can be so frustrating and challenging, especially for first time leaders.

But it can be done if leaders have a basic understanding of what makes people tick. What science has already found is that positive emotions (how work and culture make employees feel) are at the root of human motivation.

Therefore, leaders must gain the knowledge of what inspires their followers to enthusiastically perform at a high level. 

The following are eight ideas to help first time leaders create the right atmosphere for motivating others. 

1. Start with scheduling more one on one time.

Leaders thrive when they strengthen relationships with their people by spending more one-on-one time with them to hear their suggestions, ideas, problems and issues as well as talking about performance issues and their work.

2. Find out what motivates them.

Do you know what gets your team members out of bed in the morning? What they’re passionate about — their goals, aspirations, and interests? In other words, do you really know your team members? Great leaders show an interest in their people’s jobs and career aspirations in order to motivate them the right way. Once that’s been established, they look into the future to create learning and development opportunities for their people. They find out what motivates their best people by getting to know what desires will drive each team member.

3. Provide the resources they need to do their work exceptionally well.

It’s a simple question, but you’d be surprised how often it is not asked: What do you need right now to do your job better? You may be surprised, or even shocked at the answer; it could be that they need access to more information to make the right decisions, better equipment or even another work space. Acting on what you find out will be a huge motivational booster. 

4. Praise and compliment them often.

Leaders have to get into the habit of praising their followers for their good qualities and work. The companies in Gallup’s study with the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as a powerful motivator to get their commitment. They found that employees who receive it on a regular basis increase their individual productivity, receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and are more likely to stay with their organization.

5. Help co-create purposeful work.

People want meaning and purpose in their work. One way to give employees that purpose is to have them meet the very people they are helping and serving, even if just for a few minutes. Managers giving their people access to customers so they can see first-hand the human impact their work makes is a great human motivator.

6. Help them develop new skills.

Although important, I’m not so much talking about putting them through another required technical or safety training program to keep them or the business compliant, but actually giving them meaningful new skills or knowledge in other areas that they can use to leverage their natural strengths for future roles, whether with their current company or another company. The point is to serve and value them so exceptionally well as people and workers that they have no reason to leave but use their newfound skills for new projects.

7. Actively involve them.

Great leaders recognize that leadership doesn’t travel one way but is multi-directional. While it can come from the top down at critical times, the best scenario is allowing decisions, information, and delegation to travel from peer to peer or from the bottom up, where the collective wisdom and involvement of the whole team help solve real issues in real time on the frontlines.

8. Believe in them.

The best leaders delegate often and give their employees responsibility for delivering challenging work. If this doesn’t happen in your workplace, consider two hard questions:

  • Do you trust your knowledge workers to do what they’ve been hired to do?
  • Do they have the right competence for the job to carry out the work with confidence?

So often leaders underestimate the potential and ability of their employees. If you answered yes to the questions above, be of the mindset to always accept that they can do the work. Then, give them the room to perform and support them with whatever they need to make them even better. This is how you motivate them to the rafters.

Stuart Hartley
About the author

Incrementa has grown a significant track record in delivering business growth services to pre start and growing businesses. The team at Incrementa have helped to start over 1000 new businesses and have assisted over 250 existing businesses for all industries and sectors to grow and develop.

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