So you’re the team leader at work? Whether this is a new position for you, or you’re just looking for ways to keep your team motivated, I’ve attended seminars and read every book on leadership and positivity over the years that I could get my hands on, from some of the best leadership guru’s in the U.S. (Dale Carnegie, Jeffrey Gitomer) and have a few tips I’d like to share (this stuff really works).
Are you a micro manager? Stop it! Often managers or team leaders feel the need to micro manage every detail and can even feel threatened by strong employees. A true leader should inspire others to grow and become strong. Encourage others to make decisions for themselves and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Figure out your own personality type and the personality type of each person on your team. For instance, I’m a type A personality which means I generally don’t need anyone to motivate me and I don’t particularly like or want someone else telling me what to do. I excelled in sales, under managers who understood this, while I became resentful of overly “bossy” or “know it all” managers who didn’t understand what drove me. Know the personality types and nurture them if you want your team at it’s best; don’t fight what makes someone tick; reward it.
Foster an environment that makes open communication easy and encouraged. Creating a great work environment is much easier when you aren’t doing it alone. Try a suggestion box if people seem resistant to share ideas at first.
No matter what type of work you do; there are always whiners and negative nellies. Weed these people out as quickly as you can. They bring everyone else on your team down. Remember that misery loves company. If you’re the negative one, read Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude.” It will light a fire under your attitude if you let it. In fact, hand copies out at work if you can.
This is huge. If someone told you that ‘reverse’ psychology works to motivate people; yelling, threatening job loss, cussing, or throwing temper tantrums…you probably have a high turnover rate and shouldn’t be managing anything (you can’t even manage your own emotions). I’ve worked in sales for and with managers who did this and also managers who were respectful and honest. Guess who got the best performance out of their team? It’s a no brainer. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Be the Example:
Don’t ask or expect other people to do what you aren’t willing to do yourself (I use sales as an example because there is a very high turnover rate in the field). If you are the team leader and you don’t excel at what your team does; start learning! The people in the trenches are the bread and butter of the company. Be the example for others to follow; show up early, work the hardest, exude positivity and enthusiasm, and be thankful for your job.
Laugh and Have Fun:
If you or your team find yourselves groaning when you walk through the door, you may need to create a work environment that’s a little more fun. The workplace doesn’t have to be ‘hell on earth’, in fact it can be as fun as you make it. Make laughter and fun a priority. Make people want to come to work each day.
Analyze yourself with honesty. Find your weaknesses and strengths. I’m going to tell you to do the opposite of what most people would tell you to do now. Don’t focus on improving your weaknesses; know what they are and work on them, but use your energy to focus on your strengths. When you do this, your strengths become even stronger. You won’t be wasting energy thinking about what you did wrong. You’ll feel amazing and that rubs off on other people.
Just a job, just a sale, just one employee…if you think like this, stop it! If it’s just a job to you, you won’t excel at it because it isn’t important to you. To be the best, it should be a way of life. Just a sale, could be the biggest sale of the year for a company. Just one employee, could be the perfect person for the job who you just let go because they were; just a… You get the point. Everything matters, everyone matters, and as a team leader, you should care about the details. Little things add up to big things.
Creativity and Change:
Nourish creativity and don’t be afraid of change. I’ve heard that the only two things you can count on in life are change and death. That’s a little cynical for me. You can also count on the tenacity of the human spirit, the power of positivity, and the god given gift called ‘freedom of choice.’ Most human beings are capable of making their own choices and flourish when given a chance to think for themselves. Let creativity flow and make change as normal to your team as eating lunch. Nothing dreamed is ever brought to light without change.
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