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“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”
~John C. Maxwell

How important is motivation to your success?  Are you a motivated person?  Do you set goals, try to get better each day?  Okay, now what about your team?  Most leaders want and need motivated teams. If you asked your team what motivates them, I bet someone will say, “more money in my paycheck.”  But do they really mean that?  Most research tells us the link between what you make and how satisfied you are at your job is very weak.

Here are 5 ways to help motivate your team that cost nothing.

  1. Create a vision, a higher purpose for your team.  Let the team be a part of creating it for it must be practical and accessible.  Cost:  Nothing but a few meetings in conversation exploring what unique place they have within the organization.
  2. Communicate with your team – each one of them. Ask how they are doing, show respect and treat each one the way you want to be treated.  Communicate information about your organization – keep employees up to date on changes, and approaching issues.  Don’t you hate to be blind-sided?  Most importantly make sure to let them know they can communicate with you – keep your door and ears open.  Cost:  Nothing but effort put toward the act of communicating. Face to face communication is always
  3. Provide your team with the tools, systems and education to do their job. Nothing will tire you quicker than eating spaghetti with a knife. When I was a kid, my enjoyment of a good spaghetti meal increased unbelievably when someone taught me the fork/spoon trick…which is awesome.  In other words, don’t just provide tools, provide the right tools.  Maintain them and train them to both use and maintain.  Cost:  Nothing but standard budget items – they just need to become a focus within the organization.  Oh, well, maybe the cost of a good spaghetti dinner now and again – feeding is a way of providing for them and expressing your appreciation.  Show them the fork/spoon trick if they haven’t got it down already.
  4. Mutual Trust can never be overrated. Deliver on promises and expect the same in return.  Be friendly, fair, firm and factual.  As Roger Staubach said, “If you don’t have trust inside your company, then you can’t transfer it to your customers.”  It is an investment and more importantly a bond between you and your employees.  Cost:  Nothing but thoughtful consideration of others.  It is an investment with an incredible return rate.
  5. Manage the problems and the people will manage themselves. Skills are worthless if conflict and drama are all around.  So, hiring the best people isn’t beneficial if they are mired in conflict.  Deal with the problems sooner than later.  Give honest and regular evaluations to staff.  Focus on growing a culture more than results.  Cost:  Nothing but your heightened awareness and willingness to manage.
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