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8 Changes You Can Make to Motivate Your Employees

8 Changes You Can Make to Motivate Your Employees

As an employer, one of your top priorities should be employee morale. After all, if your employees aren’t happy, it’ll show in their work, which shows in your sales.

There are entire books on the topics of management, employee motivation, and how to convince employees to do their jobs. There is a prevailing sentiment that employees are somehow lazy and uncaring, and need to be convinced that they need to do more than just wait around to collect a paycheck.

Successful employers and managers have found, however, that if you treat your employees like human beings, you can often create impressive success that translates into higher employee morale. Here are 8 simple ways to do just that.

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Care About Where Your Employees Are Headed

As a manager, when was the last time you sat down one on one with a team member and had a real conversation with them about where they saw themselves in five years? Maybe they envision themselves with the company, or maybe they have an entirely different goal in mind. If you know, and can feed them opportunities to use skills that build towards their goals, they’ll be more productive.

Link Employee Rewards And Company Performance

Are employee rewards for everyone, or just for those with corner offices? If your company truly believes in employee rewards being for every member of the company, then there needs to be a reasonable way for employees to perform at the expected level. Using rewards to try and achieve unrealistic goals is demotivating across the board.

Truly Care About Work-Life Balance

Do you have an employee who has a young child or elderly family member that they need to care for? Is there a hobby or club that they travel out of town for a few times a year? By offering flexible scheduling, to whatever degree is possible, you show your employees that you care not just about their productivity but their wellbeing. That, in turn, increases their productivity and benefits your business.

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Listen To Your Employees

If your employee comes by your desk to vent about a troublesome client, listen to them. If they’re having a frustrating day, or they have a success that they want to share, be their supportive ear. Sure, there are lines that need to be drawn at times if they’re discussing inappropriate outside work activities, but with work related conversations, you should be a safe place for them to express themselves. The less employees take these stressors home, the less likely they are to fester, and create long term unhappiness with a job.

Reward Behaviors You Want To See

If you see an employee doing something great, reward them for it. Know their “currency” beforehand, and use it. Some employees like to be publicly thanked; some like having you drop by their desk and say “I saw that you really paid attention at the meeting and were much more precise with your reports labeling this month. Thank you for that.”

Anyone who has ever trained anyone will tell you that rewarding positive behaviors gets you much better results than punishing negative ones.

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Communicate With Your Employees

If your employees never see you, how can they work with you? If you spend all of your time in your office or cubicle, sending out emails that can be misinterpreted and newsletters that no one reads, you aren’t managing a team.

Set up face-to-face conversations. Organize group meetings. Have open-door hours, where employees can come into your office and talk about their current projects, business ideas, client concerns, or anything else that they need to share in that moment.

Give yourself a face, so that they see you as a person.

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Be An Example

If you want your team to follow the rules of the office, you need to not just follow them, you need to be picture-perfect. Some managers follow the axiom that team members will determine an office’s dress code by looking at their supervisor and then dressing down one notch. This is true of many employee behaviors. If your employees see you get away with a rule bending once, they will assume that they can get away with it as well.

If you’re putting rules in place, don’t break them. If they’re not reasonable rules for the office, don’t make them in the first place.

Empower Your Employees To Succeed

As an employee, nothing’s worse than being told to do better without being given any tools or strategies to actually achieve the goal of improvement. As a team manager, make sure that you know what tools your team needs, and that they are readily available.

Managing a team for success is absolutely possible – you just have to treat people like people, instead of like replaceable cogs. You will get back what you put in, so start with your highest effort.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.imgix.net

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Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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