Ask why a person joins a sales team, and they will normally answer because of the quality of the manager. Ask why they stay with that team and it’s usually because of the quality of the manager. Ask why they leave, and it’s often because of the quality of the manager.
You play a vital role in keeping the team together. Your position is vital in raising or decreasing the morale and motivation of the team. We have often seen people on our courses who are complaining about how things are in their working environment.
When questioned about this, it invariably comes down to how their immediate manager is handling things that will determine how this person will react long-term.
As manager, we know that we have to spend time specifically with individuals within our team. But what can you specifically do to make sure these team members are kept motivated, energised and convinced they should add their time and efforts to your team goals?
Here are some ideas:
* Practice participative management: People closer to the front line have more day-to-day experiences of what actually happens in the real world, whether it’s on the shop floor, in front of the customer or out in the field.
By tapping into this knowledge, you can find out exactly what’s going on and identify how you can help people achieve their goals. Participative leaders know they don’t know all the answers, and they encourage their team to share information on what they see as the best way forward.
Listen closely. They may have some golden nuggets that you hadn’t thought of before.
* Be clear in your expectations: Unclear expectations will only cause confusion and negativity. A laser will burn a hole in piece of material that a flashlight never could.
Similarly, a clear, specific, focused objective can be the key to ensuring quality results pinpointed in exactly the right areas.
* Build their self-esteem: This has been described as the degree to which people feel praiseworthy. By building people’s self-confidence in what they are doing, you tap into the potential that is inside every person, and you create a base from which to build great results.
Keep any praise genuine, honest and non-patronising. The self-worth you build in your team will be well worth the time and effort you put in.
* Keep the lines of communication open: People kept in the dark feel lost and can start rumours based on what they think the meaning is of being short-changed in the communication stakes.
Don’t add fuel to the inevitable rumour fire by keeping information to yourself. Each person has a deep need to feel they a part of something bigger than themselves and if you refuse to communicate, they will defensively recoil back into their own area of security. That should be the last thing you want, so make sure you keep those lines open.
* Remember the three keys of motivation: Reward, Recognition, Responsibility. They have to be made in unison, as it will not be very uplifting if someone gets the responsibility they’ve been craving, the recognition for a job well done, and no reward for it.
Make sure there’s some cohesion between the three, and you’ll tap into the potential that lies in everyone.
All the above will provide reasons for loyalty, commitment and motivation if you approach it correctly and follow through on your promises. The effective team manager will create a great team, concentrated on results and high achievement.
Originally published: 6 October, 2010
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