How to Keep Your Team MotivatedAfter a long, hard day at work, the prospect of doing it all again can be daunting. When the expectations of your company are high, it can cause your team anxiety and burnout because they want to do their best.

“Maintaining employee motivation when expectations are high is an extremely challenging thing to do,” says Michael Olguin, contributor to Inc.

He offers some suggestions to help lead your team back to balance, clarity, and renewed energy.

Challenge Employees

Work needs to stimulate your employee’s intellect. They want to learn and have daily successes so goals need to be tough, yet attainable. Olguin says it’s important to challenge your employees to analyze their job and the company overall and encourage them to intellectually improve the organization through greater efficiencies, processes, or service offerings. “When individuals feel like their intellectual contributions are being realized, they are more invested in the company and committed to their jobs,” he says.

Offer Opportunities

Olguin says one of the best things you can do as a leader is to continuously offer your employees opportunities to take on new responsibilities, challenges, or projects. This will validate your confidence in them and provides them with experience in areas they may never have had a chance to face.

Give Constructive Feedback

It’s never comfortable to communicate to an employee on how they can improve, but constructive feedback can motivate employees to want to improve. When criticism is handled with finesse, it can promote growth and improvement.

Encourage Breaks

Encourage your employees to step away from their desk or work environment, even if for just a few minutes.

“Fresh air, sunshine, and idle chatter about anything other than work can be incredibly valuable in invigorating employees, which will ultimately ensure better quality work,” says Olguin.

Work Smarter, Not Longer

Train your employees on time management skills so they can better manage their days. Longer time in the office could demotivate employees. They may feel like they don’t have a life other than work. Employees need to have a balance between their personal and professional lives.

A lack of motivation on the job is a common problem. It can lead to dissatisfaction and even greater unhappiness. There are many reasons employees suffer from a lack of motivation: Maybe they had a long day on the job, their work doesn’t challenge them, they aren’t in their dream job, or it’s hard to get passionate about the work. Whatever the reason, as leaders, we need to find ways to motivate our team and renew their energy.

How do you motivate your employees?

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Effective Leadership Starts by Walking in Another Person’s ShoesThe chairman and CEO of Loews Hotel spent a week working the front desk and carrying luggage for the reality show Down the Ladder. Jon Tisch’s eye-opening experience led to some significant changes in policy for the multimillion-dollar luxury hotel chain.

By the end of the week, Tisch had a new awareness of and respect for the tough work his employees do every day. As reported by Sanyin Siang, executive director of the Coach K Center on Leadership and a contributor to the Huffington Post, “His employees now know and feel that [Tisch] gets it and that he gets them.”

In business as in life, it’s a great challenge for all of us to see things from someone else’s point of view, but for effective leadership, you need to understand how another person sees the world and lead from there.

When you walk in another person’s shoes, great things can happen.

Effective Leadership: Walk in Another Person’s Shoes

You build trust. The connection between leader and followers grows stronger. “Leaders get a feel for the language and analogies that would resonate better with followers,” Siang notes.

You provide better feedback. When employees feel the CEO understands what they do, it’s easier for them to accept criticism that improves their performance. Also, there’s less of the kind of criticism that fails to account for the realities of an employee’s workload.

As Siang points out, “It’s much easier to criticize and point out the things that are wrong when there isn’t a full sense of the obstacles that might be in the way.”

You strengthen collaboration. Following the experience of walking in that other person’s shoes, there’s a much greater sense among both leader and employees that we’re all in this together. Because “leaders and followers can better see the contribution that each brings,” it’s possible to seize on opportunities “beyond each other’s limited understanding.”

Of course, most CEOs and business owners don’t have the time to literally assume the job duties of their employees, but there are ways that leaders can gain a deeper understanding of their employees’ perspectives and actions:

The best teachers ask questions, listen carefully to the answers and “then relay the lesson … in a way that is tailored to the students’ frame of reference.”

That’s what Jon Tisch has done. As Siang reports, his personal experience led to the creation of a new Loews Hotels policy. For one day every year, “his executives need to take on the jobs of their employees.”

How can you learn to walk in your employees’ shoes?

How to Create a Powerful Team CultureSuccessful companies place a high priority on building an extraordinary team culture.

They understand that gathering together a group of talented individuals and offering them the chance to merge their talents often results in a burst of energy and creativity from which great new ideas arise.

Peter Economy, author of Managing for Dummies and a contributor to Inc., offers five tips on building a team culture that vastly improves employee performance, loyalty and engagement. (more…)

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