In business, stagnation means surrender. Keeping up with the relentless pace of innovation is not a burden to be borne on a leader’s shoulders alone; a concerted and cohesive team effort is the key. However, one task does fall to the leader – that of motivation.
Change pushes us into the unknown, so the employees of a company undergoing fundamental shifts are inevitably going to confront the twin specters of anxiety and apprehension. There is no substitute for motivation from the top in these circumstances. Here is a three-pronged plan to keep your team motivated in times of flux, catalyze their enthusiasm, and propel your company forward in line with your plans.
Whether or not you tell your employees directly about the coming changes, word will almost inevitably leak out. Finding out about imminent shifts in company policy or direction from a third party will infuse their perception of the company – and its leadership – with an element of distrust and possibly even a sense of betrayal.
The far better approach is to share your ideas regarding the proposed changes, first with managers and supervisors and then with the team at large. Not only does this demonstrate your forthright approach but it also allows your team to voice their fears and ideas. Listening to them at this critical juncture will leave the company well-placed to weather the buffeting winds which always accompany a major transition.
Being open cannot be limited to just conveying your vision for change and general ideas about the changes the company has in mind. To motivate your people to come together as a single unit, use facts and numbers.
The absence of such real and verifiable information only serves to create confusion, which benefits no one but your competitors. However, with concrete data, every person on the team will be better equipped to formulate their individual roles within the overall changes to be implemented. Hard workers who know what they have to do and have a goal in mind are your most potent assets in uncertain times.
You cannot motivate anyone unless they want to motivate themselves. Without adequate resources to support them, it is easy for employees to fall into a spiral of self-doubt and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of their own failure. Your role as a leader, particularly when implementing major changes, is to identify and address the concerns of individuals who risk falling into this trap.
This does not mean monitoring everyone personally but rather empowering managers and supervisors to perform that role. Put in place open channels of communication that demonstrate the organization’s willingness to listen to and assist employees. Upskilling programs that give them the confidence that they are qualified and capable of performing their roles work wonders for motivation.
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