The Keys To Leading A Happy, Motivated Team

By Natalie BarbaJanuary 20, 2017

Job hopping, moving from one company to the next every year or two, seems to be more common now than ever. Reasons for leaving an organization vary – an individual may feel like they are no longer growing, they don’t understand the company’s vision and therefore aren’t passionate about it, or they don’t feel recognized for the work that they do – but they are all impacted by leadership.

In the intense competition for talent, when asked how to build a team that people enjoy being a part of, here’s what our community had to say:

Make your team members feel heard

And let them know their voices matter. Andre Harrell recommends you, “Ensure that during every interaction you have with each person, they feel like they are the only one that matters in your world at that given moment.”

“Try to get to know your team members as much as possible, both professionally (their strengths and weaknesses in the domain, areas of interest, attitudes) as well as personally (interest areas, issues etc.)” adds Mahesh Kalyanaraman. Not only will you make them feel cared for, you’ll also get to better understand their motivating factors, which you can incorporate into your management style to improve team performance.

Mukesh Sharma shares about his success doing so, “I believe the main reason [that people stayed on my team] is that each of my team members believed that I cared for them. And I did.” He then goes on to list several actions he took that lead to this result, which you can find on the discussion board.

Encourage team bonding

The benefits of having friends at work are clear. It’s a lot easier to wake up and walk into the office in the morning knowing you’re going to spend the next eight hours with people whose company you enjoy.

Sharing common ground, which every team has, does plenty to create and strengthen connections. “Team bonding comes from the values shared among the team. A person enjoys working with teams that share his values,” states Anand Damani. Be sure to define and communicate these shared values early and often.

According to Lisa Bisson, not everyone has to be friends, “but you should do your best to provide opportunities for friendship and camaraderie among your team members. Make sure new members are welcomed and included from the start. Emphasizing a person’s value both as an employee and a colleague will make them feel like a partner rather than just a worker.”

Investigate specifics around what motivates your team

“Do the goals of your team and the tasks of its members help them get what they want, or avoid what they do not want? Are members’ short-term, extrinsic rewards (pay, promotions) and long-term, intrinsic rewards (being valued, doing good work) at least on par with the rewards they could get for using their skills on another team?” asks Larry McKinley. The answers to these questions aren’t obvious, and they vary from team to team, but as McKinley puts it, the outcome is well worth the investigation.

To get you started thinking about what your team’s motivating factors may be, Ram Ramanathan shares a list of possibilities including “comfort in working together, a co-created and co-owned group vision, clear communication, commitment and accountability to a shared vision, and a culture and structure that supports all of the above.”

After suggesting you begin by learning about individuals’ desires, dreams, and ambitions, Lefford Fate shares, “This is ‘a’ way, not necessarily ‘the’ way, but I believe it’s a great start. It’s worked for me,” agreeing with McKinley’s point – there is no one approach that will work for everyone. You will have to ask around to learn about how to best lead your team and test different strategies. While doing so, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

Shine the spotlight on individual strengths

Liem Vu suggests the key to building a happy, high performing team is to tailor assignments to individuals’ strengths and goals. “Connect with individual team members to develop an understanding of what they value and what they are looking to accomplish. From that understanding, assign roles and accountabilities to your team that will allow them to not only enjoy what they’re doing, but to also grow their skills and capabilities.”

Each individual has a unique value they can contribute to the success of the team. Instead of expecting all team members to be good at everything, allow your people to do what they do best. By encouraging the collaborating of this diverse set of skills and expertise, you will find your team delivering better results.

Think about what’s making you stay

For Fate, it is “because I felt a sense of purpose and that I was cared about. As I climbed there were challenges before me and I was stretched. I also felt that if I worked hard, studied hard, and tried to succeed, I could.”

Again, there are both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that come into play. It’s a matter of finding the right balance, which is possible through self-reflection and team investigation.

In summary:

  • Treat your team members as individuals
  • Get to know them beyond their professional roles
  • Allow them to focus on tasks that align with their strengths
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on how you’re doing as a manager

Interested in learning more? Join the Everwise mentor community and read the full discussion here.

Natalie Barba

Natalie Barba

Community Operations

About the Author

As Associate Community Manager at Everwise, Natalie focuses on engaging with a global community of professionals and connecting them with one another. She’s passionate about working with children and supporting others’ growth.

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