Employee Incentives News: Management tips for a motivated, engaged workforce

Every manager wants a motivated team that they have a good relationship with. But what are the real tips on how to engage with employees without coming off all wrong? We caught up with leadership coach Margo Manning, author of The Step Up Mindset for New Managers (£14.99, Panoma Press) to talk about the key things any manager can do to motivate and engage a team.

1) HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE – Whilst your attitude alone will not determine success, it plays a large part in the success process. Attitude is key, and it is vital to have the right attitude for the right outcomes. Influencing your own attitude will result in changing your behaviours, and in return impact on outcomes. With a positive attitude you will be able to recognise obstacles as challenges rather than allowing them to be the finishing line. You can look beyond what may be in your way and see your possibilities.

2) DON’T BE A DREAMER… If you are overly positive and optimistic, this leads to problems. Having an extremely optimistic view means that you may ignore issues and real concerns. Your outlook, whilst positive, may not be realistic. There is always balance, and realism must be included within an optimistic mindset. You will make the odd wrong decision, choose the wrong person, carry out the wrong task: that is called ‘being human’.

3) STOP BEING A MATE – it is often difficult to transition from being a mate into a managerial role successfully. Never, ever overestimate peer loyalty when it comes to management. Your mate to manager transition must be carried out with understanding and empathy for the team that you are now managing, and this could mean starting from the beginning again in getting to know them. Strange as this may seem, you are their manager now. There are different dynamics and a different mindset in place for you and for them. As well as assertively delivering processes and procedures, giving instructions, delegating, telling, etc., you must now deliver communications that your team may not like, without getting caught up in the gossip and whinging.

4) STOP LOOKING UP!- Following a promotion, It can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to please your line manager and this can result in knee-jerk responses that could alienate you from your team. It is important to consider the repercussions of any actions and the impact new decisions will make on the team. Sometimes as a manager, when there is no room for discussion, the instruction must be delivered. It won’t please everyone; however, the trick is to work out how best not to displease everyone.

5) NOTICE YOUR REFLECTION – As a manager it is hard to miss how your own attitude, behaviour, and possibly more so your mood impacts that of your team. It is very difficult to maintain motivation within your team when you yourself are feeling demotivated and potentially miserable within your role. As a manager you will be motivating or demotivating your staff through your own motivation, energy and emotional state. You, as a manager, have a greater influence on your team and productivity that you may possibly well imagine. Your team may very well just be mirroring your state. When one person’s mood is contagious and impacts emotions and output this called social contagion. When managed correctly though, social contagion can be a plus for all, individuals, the team, you as a manager and of course the business, due to increased motivation and productivity.

6) SELL THE SIZZLE, NOT THE SAUSAGE – Great managers know how to engage their team. They know how to get the best from the team, and they do this by ‘selling the sizzle and not the sausage’. By that I mean they sell the benefits of carrying out a task or project rather than the functionality. This is an old sales’ methodology: sales people promote the benefits to the buyer not the functionality. Find out from one-to-ones what makes the individual tick, why are they at work? And then support them on this and see how the task and then gain their buy-in. Remember, it is their why not yours that will get their buy-in.

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