You don’t have to go way over budget to motivate your team. In fact you may not have to dip into the budget at all! There are three simple and inexpensive approaches that team members mention over and over again that reward them and provide them with motivation.
- Personal thanks from the boss – When was the last time you singled some one out and gave them a sincere and specific thank you? I don’t mean the generic “Hey everyone keep up the good work.” I mean taking the time to seek someone out and telling them exactly what you appreciate about their work.
- Written thanks from the boss – How many written notes of praise do you have from your management? If you received them, I bet you kept them. Don’t you think your people will feel the same way?
- Public praise – How difficult is it to mention someone in a team meeting or to thank a team in a company meeting? A word to the wise, public praise is not for everyone. Before you make a fuss over someone in public, make sure they are receptive to that type of attention. The goal is to motivate them not embarrass them. When you take the time to get to know your team, you know when public praise is appreciated and when it is not.
These strategies are virtually cost free. The only reason I do not say cost free is because some of you will remind me that in order to provide written thanks, you might consider purchasing a nice thank you card. And perhaps to give public praise you might also include a team lunch. But you don’t have to make motivating your team expensive. It can be as simple as showing appreciation.
If this is so easy, why doesn’t it happen more often? Sadly, many people report that they seldom (if ever) receive any of the above items – no personal thanks, no written thanks and no public praise. Most leaders mean well but get so overwhelmed that they let praise fall to the bottom of their to-do list or they think that the absence of criticism or the presence of a raise or bonus equals praise. This is unfortunate because one of your primary roles as a leader is to motivate your team. Anything you can do to support your people in their work should go to the top of your list, not the bottom.
One last thought you do not have to be someone’s boss to contribute to their motivation. A sincere expression of admiration or appreciation from a valued peer carries lots of weight!