The best teams are the teams that comprise of diverse groups of people – passionate people with opinions, ideas, and ambitions. However, if you’re a team lead, you’ll find that leading a diverse group of passionate people can prove to be a bit tricky.
The worst thing that can possibly happen in the workplace is losing your talent. And by ‘losing’, I don’t necessarily mean having members of your team resign. Sometimes, a team member can lose motivation or trust in you, and will become demoralised, despondent and producing work that is less than their best.
Over the course of my career, I have witnessed this happen on several occasions, and I have often felt it myself. In 2018, I became a project manager (I prefer the term ‘lead’ to ‘manager’) and I experimented with different methodologies and learned a lot about leading a diverse team. I especially learned what knocks the motivation out of a person quicker than the time it takes to say the word ‘motivation’.
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I’ve outlined below what motivates people the most:
Provide clarity on the direction of the product:
In order for your team members to put their heart and soul into a cause, they need to believe in that cause. Before they can believe in a cause, they need to first be clear on what it is. When you gather your team and introduce a new project, outline the long term and short-term goals and objectives of the projects are. Highlight the problem the project strives to solve and how the project will positively impact people’s lives more so than the potential profits – people are more committed to projects that are beneficial to society than projects that will make a ton of money (for their bosses).
Pay your team – on time:
This may seem obvious but it’s not always the case. I have experienced having my pay delayed up to 6 weeks (in Australia) and I’ve experienced not being paid at all. It happens. If you’re a business owner – pay your employees on time. If you’re employed as a team lead, ensuring your colleagues get paid may not be in your power. However, be a leader of integrity and stand with your team. Follow up with management to make sure everyone gets paid. Loosen your team’s deadlines and relax your expectations if the company is not paying you. If the company is not transparent about why they’re not paying you and is not proposing solutions – take the initiative and encourage your team to take some sort of action – this could simply mean refusing to work until the company pays it’s employees or explains what the problem is.
Be honest with your team:
If you own a new start up, chances are, you are going to encounter obstacles. Some of the obstacles may include cash flow problems. If you do encounter financial obstacles that leave you unable to pay your employees, tell them. Be honest about the financial difficulties and transparent about the status of the company and what will likely occur in the next few months (whether it be a few months of hardship before the company can get back on it’s feet or liquidation). Honesty with your team members – especially in difficult times – can work wonders. Not only will many of your team members stick around to wade through the storm with you, you will form a
Listen to your team members:
As I mentioned before, the best teams are those comprising of passionate people. A lot of the time, passionate people will have strong thoughts and feelings on a range of topics – both work related and
Encourage your team to pursue ongoing professional development:
Whether you own a business or lead a team (or both), you should encourage your team to pursue ongoing professional development. When you can, you should facilitate and finance this development. This shows that you genuinely care about your team members’ professional growth and success (whether in your company or somewhere else).
These are actions you can take to keep your team
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