In a recent post, I wrote about how to motivate yourself and get back to work when you resist it (say, after a holiday break!). But what if you’re the manager in charge of getting your team back on track? I’ve seen workplaces in fast-growth mode where burnout is a real danger. On the flip side, I’ve seen workplaces in the midst of a slowdown or a restructuring where anxiety eats away at morale. As a manager, you can profoundly affect the work environment for your team. Here are five tips for how to motivate your team when morale is low:
Focus on the team and the individual.
With hypergrowth or a negative market condition where most everyone is impacted, your efforts as the manager should be directed among your team. Ensure that you’re keeping everyone apprised of news and changes, so that you control the story and your team isn’t left to its imagination. Negativity is contagious and left unchecked, one worrier or complainer can bring down the morale of the group. That said, don’t assume that everyone on your team feels the same way. One person may be anxious about losing his job. Another might feel like she stepped up and deserves a promotion. Still another might be frustrated that he doesn’t have the tools to handle the current changes. You need to manage both the overall temperature of the group but also uncover and understand individual concerns.
Coach for what is needed.
Coach each individual for what s/he needs. Not everyone needs motivation; information or skills training might be the more helpful response. Motivation, encouragement, and acknowledgment are appropriate tools when an individual or team is making a final push on a project and exhausted. Information might be the more appropriate tactic if there are company or market changes that impact what your team is working on, and your team needs to know how to adjust. Finally, what looks like low morale or disengagement might simply be confusion of what to do next or how to accomplish it. In this case, more information or specific skills training is in order. A motivational speech will be insufficient.
Read 3 more tips on motivating your team in my leadership column for Forbes:
Originally published on January 31, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau