Getting started on a project can be exciting. You hire your team and give them the ‘speech’ about the big picture and what you want to achieve at the end of it all. You want to inspire your team. They seem enthusiastic enough. However, as with anything else, projects have their ups and downs.
It is often easier for a leader to remain motivated through the lows of a project. When projects seem to drag on or things begin to get tough, your team members may not be as motivated as you are. They may not share the same vision you do. It can be even harder when the team is working remotely. It can be hard to determine if they are using their time well.
In this tech driven society, your first reaction may be to use tools and applications that will allow you to track your team’s activities. However, just like in the office environment, micromanaging would be counterproductive. You’ll only make them feel even less inspired to work.
A recent study showed that more than 93% of people believe that they are more productive when they work remotely. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t need a pick me up every once in a while. Motivation should be ongoing. The following strategies ought to help you get started:
1. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Several studies show that communication is key if you want to ensure your team remains motivated. Regular communication helps members of a team feel more connected. This applies to digital, telephone as well as face to face communication.
However, it is important that there is much more to communication than simply picking up the phone to say hello or dropping an email to check on the status of a task. Modern technology has made it possible for teams to keep in touch on various levels. Social media is a great example of how teams can build their relationships.
Other great ways to keep lines of communication open include instant messaging, webinars and screen sharing. All of these allow members of the team to stay up to date with different aspects of the project. Keeping members of the team in the loop helps them feel more connected. It allows them to see the big picture and where they fit into it. They see how their contributions affect the overall outcome of the project.
It is important to schedule meetings regularly whether digitally or face to face. This will give the members of the team a sense of belonging and provide everyone with a clear sense of direction.
Many managers make the mistake of only communicating when something goes wrong. Ensure that you’re encouraging your team by complimenting them for good work. Providing positive feedback can be a great motivator.
2. Give Recognition Where it’s Due
Everyone likes to be appreciated. Members of a team like to know that their work is recognized and valued. A research study by Weekdone.com revealed that 39% of workers feel that their input is not appreciated. Team members that work remotely can easily fall into the trap of feeling underappreciated. If you want to inspire and motivate your team, implement a recognition program.
- Recognize efforts made by individuals in your team. Be specific in showing what the individual has accomplished and its impact on the overall project.
- Reward team members with things they will value. It may be useful to ask them what they would consider useful. A reward that they would appreciate or find useful will help to motivate and inspire the individual as well as the entire team.
It is important to understand your team members in order to recognize them in a way that they will appreciate. Open communication is key in establishing a recognition program.
3. Measure Performance
Tracking metrics helps managers keep track of the progress of a project. It helps you stay on top of different tasks and adjust your planning accordingly. It can also work to motivate your team.
Many managers view tracking metrics as a way to implement tight regulations on their team and reign them in. However, using your metrics to micromanage your team is counterproductive. The information gathered from performance measurements can instead work to support and encourage your team especially when there seems to be no end in sight.
Use tracking metrics to help your team set targets that are clear to them. Setting standards makes it easier to achieve a goal. Team members are able to set priorities and work on them doing away with redundant tasks.
4. Make Work Fun
Work can sometimes become stressful or boring even for those who are passionate about what they do. This also applies to those working remotely. It doesn’t hurt to add some fun to work.
One effective way of making work fun especially for remote teams is by gamifying the work. According to eLearning Industry, 40% of the top international organizations are planning to employ gamification to help improve their internal operations.
Gamification is a great way to increase completion as well as fun when working on a project. Incorporating awards for hitting milestones and objectives as individuals and teams is sure to get your team back on track.
It can be difficult to get a remote team together for team building activities. Gamification, when used correctly, can help to overcome this obstacle. It can help to foster team spirit as well as a sense of urgency to complete tasks.
Ensure that you provide feedback to your team. This will help drive them to perform better.
5. Help them Grow
Every member of your team was hired because of the unique skills they offer. It is important to help your team members grow as professionals. You can help them improve their skill sets and learn more by organizing training or professional mentorship. This is now possible even for remote teams with platforms such as Skype and other online training programs. Team members will feel appreciated and even more motivated to work harder on their current and future tasks. Their new skills and increased knowledge will also go a long way in improving the outcome of your project.
It’s a Win-Win
Inspiring your team may take a lot of time and effort on your part but will have great pay-offs in the long run. Remember that it is a long game and not something that you should do once in a while. Motivation doesn’t occur overnight. You can’t give a pep talk and expect your team to remain motivated forever. Keeping your team inspired and motivated should be a long term goal.