Updated August 4, 2018 . AmFam Team
During the halcyon days of summer, even the most dedicated employee can use an energizing boost. However, the best way to inspire a productive and enthusiastic team isn’t to focus merely on motivating your employees, but rather to focus on firing up yourself.
“If you want people to walk the tightrope, you have to walk the tightrope first,” says James Kademan, a business coach for Draw In Customers (Opens in a new tab) Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin. In other words, building a team that is enthused about their roles requires you to project enthusiasm about your own. When your employees are committed to their jobs, the company can really shine. Kademan provides the following tips to help energize yourself and your team when morale starts to lag.
Connect with your passion. It’s especially important for business owners and managers to avoid burnout when handling the stress and responsibility of running a small business. Structure the rhythm of your workday to stay motivated, whether that means taking a break for exercise or walking around the office, checking in with employees, or whatever keeps you fresh and engaged. Remind yourself why you’re running your business to begin with. “You need to figure out your reason for doing what you’re doing,” Kademan says. “You have to realize you have goals beyond the individual business and keep those in mind instead of getting stuck in the day-to-day rat race.”
Help employees meet personal goals. Show some enthusiasm about your employees’ well-being. Make sure your team members know that you support their career aspirations, outside of the routine tasks of the job. “If you know their ‘why’ you can help them achieve that ‘why,’” says Kademan. You can even help with personal goals unrelated to your business, for example, connecting employees who want to purchase a house with people or resources to help them.
Give routine duties new meaning. Even mundane tasks like answering the phone or packing boxes in a warehouse are essential for a functioning business. Sometimes it’s hard for employees to see it that way, but if you give your team a metaphor or description to help them understand how important their contribution is, they’re more likely to give you their all in return. “Get them to understand that work is more than just the task they’re doing,” Kademan says. “There’s a higher purpose.”
Create a space for bonding. Let employees know you enjoy their contributions and their company. Organized outings are a great way to re-energize your workforce, whether a simple trip to happy hour or something more involved like bowling or an escape room. They allow your staff to have some fun on the company dime while building connections that will facilitate better teamwork once you’re back in the office. “Get your employees out of the circle they see themselves in day in or day out,” says Kademan. “Do what you can to build them up as more of a family.”
The ultimate goal is to run a thriving company where people are excited to come to work every day. But you have to set the example. “If you’re not enjoying your job, you’re either doing it wrong or in the wrong job.”