Updated: Jul 28
BRING THE ENERGY BACK
How do you motivate a lethargic team that seems to be only concerned with completing the bare minimum? Sometimes all it takes is a deeper look.
The first thing you as a manager can do, is to reassess what each individual team member is capable of. Are they being utilized in the best way possible? Are they being challenged enough, or, perhaps the challenge is too great. Each employee brings something unique to the table. We may think that because they all work well in a team that everyone will automatically find their place, but that is rarely the case. In reality, oftentimes, employees will look to their leader to give them guidance. This is especially true if an employee knows that they are underperforming in a particular area. They will be much more hesitant to speak up which, to them, is akin to admitting to failure.
Take a hard look at in what areas each individual excels and strategically position them in a position which will allow them to shine. Taking the time in the short term will all but guarantee success in the future. Everyone wants to feel that they are making a positive difference, and most can only do so if they are doing work that they feel is valuable and is one that they that are regularly contributing to.
Some members of your team may speak with up with a regular frequency, so much so that you forget there are other members! he best way to handle this is to meet regularly one on one with each team member individually. This serves several purposes.
First, actively listen to what each person has to say. Some will need more prompting than others to get a conversation started. Don't let this fool you. People inherently like to talk and more importantly, like to be heard. If they don't think the conversation will matter in the long run, they will be more skeptical about speaking up. Ask questions that require full answers, not just a simple yes or no. Get them to open up and create a rapport. Once the employee feels that they can trust you, they will be more apt to open up about what works for them and what doesn't.
Be sure to stay unbiased throughout your tenure as a manager! If an employee feels that there is favoritism, you will have lost trust and trust is very hard to regain.
What should you do if you have the opposite problem? What if an employee is overbearing and aggressive?
This can be more difficult to manage. Generally, the overbearing employee is an attention seeking one. Listening is still key. They still want to be heard and they want their work to make a difference as well, but this type of person may not have work that is challenging enough to them. Relevancy to them may also matter. It's tough to find the right mix for someone of this caliber, but it can be done, Read between the lines and take time for them just as you would for any other employee. Value what they have to say.
The take away from all this should be that everyone wants to feel that they matter in the big scheme of things. They don't want to be just another number or a nameless face. They want to contribute to the betterment of society, however they can. People want to be heard. Take all of this into consideration and watch your team grow to new heights!