Motivating employees and helping them do the best job possible takes time and experience. But as a business owner, there is nothing more rewarding than helping other people -- as well as yourself -- work to their fullest potential. The keys to being a good motivator are: clear communication, training, and appreciation. If you use the following tactics, you will become a better leader.
Make sure that your employees know exactly what you expect of them. Describe the job and your expectations before hiring, and then reiterate these expectations on a regular basis. With a new employee, this may be a daily necessity. Later, it can be done less often. Never be vague or generalize. Always be direct. Employees want to know exactly what you expect of them.
Take the time to train your employees in your methods and way of doing business. Create a training process that is replicable. It may be time consuming at first, but it will pay off. And be flexible. No matter how long you think it will take to train someone, it often takes longer, even with experienced employees.
3. Assume people want to do a good job.
Nobody on your team is making mistakes because they think it's fun, want to spite you or make the company lose money. I've seen entrepreneurs become livid over an employee’s simple mistake, as if the employee did something wrong on purpose. Don't take an employee's mistakes personally.
4. Show employees you appreciate their contributions.
Employees should feel that what they're doing is important to you and makes a difference to the company. This means everyone, including the person at the front desk, needs to know that the way he or she deals with people on the telephone, by email or when they visit the office is vital to establishing a courteous and professional image for the company. Everyone counts.
5. Create an efficient, attractive, comfortable workplace.
Consider your employees’ health, time and happiness when buying furnishings and equipment. Don't skimp on what will make someone's job easier, whether it’s about replacing a copier machine or a computer. Don’t forget their comfort. No one wants to work in a cold or stifling office. Make sure the heating and air conditioning work properly.
Create an attractive workplace that gives employees a sense of pride. I’ve found that painting office walls bright colors, instead of boring gray or beige, increases energy levels. Buying attractive furniture, whether it’s from IKEA or a top designer, gives employees a sense of pride. They tend to keep their workspaces neater and thus find it easier to be productive.
6. Banish fear.
Encourage employees to ask questions and make suggestions. Listen to their ideas. Implement the ones that make sense, improve productivity, increase sales or add to a general sense of well-being in the work environment. Make sure they feel comfortable telling you early on whether they are having problems getting the job done. You want to have as much time as possible to work with them to find solutions.
7. Lead by The Golden Rule
If in doubt about how to treat an employee, ask yourself, "Is this the way I would like to be treated?" Create the kind of workplace where you would like to work. Sometimes that’s difficult to do in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing environment. When the going gets rough, take a deep breath and a minute to reflect. Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. Think about the bigger, long-term picture. Treating your employees well is always the best option.
8. Share the excitement.
Let employees know when things are going well. Don't keep them in the dark when there are problems. There's no reason to notify them about every glitch or setback, but you can tell them when cash flow is tight and you need their help keeping expenses down. Celebrate each meaningful success, even the small ones, with something as simple as ordering a couple of pizzas (or whatever your team likes to eat). Praise an employee publicly, so that everyone knows that you mean it.
Sharing the excitement goes a long way to keeping employees engaged and happy.