Your team knows what it takes to do the “technical” side of their job, but do you know what it takes to motivate them to be better overall employees?

As a leader, when you curate an environment that fosters employee engagement, training and development opportunities and communication, you create a team that is amazing for the company. 

If you need help on how to be a quality team leader, how to motivate your employees to be better both personally and professionally, and how to choose between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, read on to find out the 9 ways to motivate your team below!

Each of these tips can easily be applied to remote teams with some tweaks.

1) Start with the environment

If people are going to sit in an office for a good chunk of the day, then it needs to be a pleasant environment.

A work environment encompasses not only the work itself, but other factors such as the relationship with co-workers, managers, organizational culture, and training and development. 

Make sure that the office is clean and stimulating and has good lighting if you don’t have the natural light of the sun. Everyone’s workspace should be spacious and with appropriate seating to accommodate sitting all day.

A positive work environment provides motivation for the employee to get through the day with as little stress as possible, and is a relatively easy way to motivate your team as a whole.

2) Team building exercises 

A strong, solid team at work will make individuals feel like they are supported. 

Managers and leaders should consider running team building exercises at least once a week to foster the feeling of community and openness. 

Is your team remote? Consider doing an afterwork virtual “happy hour” where coworkers can relax by playing virtual games, showing off their pets and drinking a nice cocktail to build and maintain a sense of openness with each other despite the distance.

3) Encourage collaboration within and across the team

Sometimes, it can get easy for teams to just focus on their direct projects and only worry about their work for the day.

For example, let your people spend time in various parts of the business and in numerous job roles so that they get a better overall idea of what their fellow coworkers do on a daily basis. 

Not to mention, this gives teams a glimpse into how the company works as a whole. 

Combining different teams together gives varying influence and viewpoints toward a department or project. Teams may come up with even better innovative ideas when they have diverse perspectives to pull from.

4) Regular 1:1 meetings and feedback sessions 

Consistent and open communication allows a safe space for employees to feel that what they have to say has value.

Creating an opportunity to have these open discussions helps to get people involved and allows them to share their views and perspectives on how to achieve company goals.

Whether employees are in office or working remotely, create an agenda or calendar invite for your meetings in advance. 

To avoid repetitive and time-wasting meetings, invite only the people who really need to attend, start the meeting on time, and then end it as quickly as you can.

If you are having a remote meeting, make sure that you’re using appropriate video software to avoid technology glitches so that your employees can get back into their workday as soon as possible.

5) Set clear goals and priorities

It is important to meet with your employees one-on-one periodically to talk about setting their goals, as well as sharing any feedback and addressing potential roadblocks. Make sure they’re SMART goals to maximise the employee’s chances of success.

After the meeting is over, summarize what was talked about in the meeting, how to reach the goal moving forward, and work toward it.

Regroup in the next meeting and check in to see if the goal has been met. If it hasn’t, get back together for a one-on-one to discuss how to approach new goals in the future.

6) Let them work on things they’re interested in

As mentioned in #3, allow your employees to get a feel for other departments within the company if they so wish. 

If they feel as if they can be an asset to a project outside of their direct job role, allow them the space to do it and to learn a new skill that they’re showing interest in.

This will naturally motivate your team and keep their minds busy while they are working. They will be grateful to have the opportunity to do something different from the same old thing that they do every day.

7) Personal and professional development

When time permits, give your employees the freedom to seek out and attend outside education and engagement events within their career roles.

There are thousands of online courses available, from writing courses to becoming proficient in Agile project management.

This works both for in-office and remote teams, so everyone can be on an even playing field.

This is a great way for you to position yourself as a leader who cares about their employees’ career paths, no matter if it will be solely with your company or not. It’ll motivate your team members to think ahead, and start upskilling in the direction they want to go in.

8) Provide opportunities for progression 

Although paying what your employees are worth is essential, money isn’t necessarily everything when it comes to your employees’ personal progression.

As in #7 above, provide your team with the training they need to advance in their careers and to become knowledgeable about their industry.

If your team is all in-office, you could arrange on-site training from a local provider if the skills are more hands-on, or are better learned alongside colleagues.

9) Avoid micromanaging

A boss who is constantly looking over our shoulder is both irritating and anxiety inducing. It can also make employees doubt their own work, and abilities.

If you’re worried they’ll make mistakes without you, don’t be. So long as you give them the tools and the training they need to do the job, they’ll figure it out.

If they do make a mistake, help them learn from it and let them get back to it! So long as you make yourself accessible for questions, they’ll ask if they have any. Empowering employees is one of the best ways to motivate your team as a whole.

It starts with you as a manager!

To be a successful manager and leader, it’s up to you to motivate your team and build the sense of community and belonging that turns them into happy, productive employees.

If you’re struggling to motivate the team, consider reviewing at your own leadership skills and experience to see if you’re missing anything important. For example, are you running your 1-1 sessions effectively?

If you find gaps, it’s worth exploring personal development opportunities like online leadership courses, or even finding a mentor who can help guide you!