It is no easy task to motivate, coach, and inspire your team, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Even today’s most prominent business tycoons admit that the most difficult part of their job is coaching and training their people. Take Steve Jobs, for instance. Jobs obviously made extraordinary contributions at Apple, but he spoke openly about his struggles in his role as CEO. Jobs learned from mistakes, and his analogy for what builds strong businesses is spot on:
“My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. And that’s how I see business. You know great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
While there is no algorithm for building and maintaining all-star teams, there are a few strategies that you can employ to improve your team and your bottom line:
Defy the golden rule. It is not about treating people the way you want to be treated. It is about treating people the way they want to be treated. Learn how individuals on your team like to communicate, and adhere to their preferences.
Set small milestones. Everyone enjoys achieving goals and celebrating success. If you have a big annual goal, set monthly milestones that can keep your team connected to the goal. Figure out a fun incentive that will inspire everyone to reach those monthly check points.
Embrace change and new ideas. Archaic, bureaucratic practices stifle creativity and innovation. Encourage and implement new ideas from your team. Remember: if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
Have fun. An engaged team enjoys going to work. Play ten minutes of Boggle in the afternoon, institute a fitness challenge, or hold a sandwich swap to keep the positive energy flowing. Let your team design what the fun looks like.
Coach. The best way to keep your employees motivated is to coach and train each individual on a regular basis.