One of the biggest mistakes that I made as an early manager was pushing my team toward corporate and office goals without ever asking them what their individual goals and aspirations were. How did that system turn out? I almost got fired. Things changed when I decided to help my team work for their goals instead of mine.
This is an overlooked management area in a small business. Don't fall under the mistaken impression that a paycheck is all the motivation an employee should or does need. If you want to truly motivate your team, then find out what gets them coming to work beyond the paycheck. Find out what their goals are and coach them to get there.
How can you push your team towards their goals better? Here are three simple tips:
1. Start pushing them to set goals. These goals could be personal, professional, growth based, etc. This is just a matter of you sitting down and asking your team what they want to accomplish in their lives and what would make them feel more fulfilled.
2. Connect with your team. If you want to know what your team needs then connect with them. Take them out for lunch or coffee. Have your team over to your house. Take them bowling or for a beer. Here's the important part. While you are doing these things, talk to your team about their life.
3. Coach your team. Don't just manage them. Treat your team like champions and coach them to a high standard. Everyone needs a coach. You need someone to bring out the best in you and your team does too. The type of coaching I am talking about is more John Wooden and less Bobby Knight.
Maybe you aren't sure where to start with this process of helping your team work for their goals. Here are a few questions to help you assess where you are at.
- Do you know what your team's goals are? Personally or professionally? Have you asked?
- In what areas does your team want to grow professionally?
- How often do you coach your team? In what ways could you improve this process?
- When was the last time you took your team out and connected with them?
- What would more awareness in the area of goals do for you and for your team?
The answers to these questions will give you an idea of where to start. The great thing that I found is that when I work hard for my team and push them to be the best they can be, they, in turn, work hard to help me be the best that I can be.