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chapter 23

Motivating is all about energizing your TEAM members to produce consistently above-average results and assume increased responsibilities. It is also about exercising leadership.
Achieving Top Performance
To achieve the best results from your TEAM, practise the following:
  • Be a strong role model in terms of how you conduct yourself. Your people will take their cue from what you do, not say. It is up to you to set the tone and pace for your people. If you work hard and smart, it is likely they will work hard and smart.
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude in all work settings. Let your enthusiasm show. It is catching for the members of your TEAM. Do not be negative. This will defeat any chance of obtaining real productivity from your TEAM.
  • Treat your people with respect and empathy. Be more of a coach than a boss.
  • Refrain from taking anyone on your TEAM for granted. Make each person believe that he or she is a much needed and much valued member of your TEAM.
  • Help every member of your TEAM to make his or her “job” more than just a job. Explain to each person why his or her individual work plays a key role in the overall success of your department and the organization. The more that people believe they are engaged in performing meaningful work, the more committed and productive they will be.
  • Tell your individual TEAM members how they are performing on a regular weekly and monthly basis. Provide lots of quick, explicit, constructive feedback. The number one job frustration worldwide is: “My work is taken for granted. No one ever tells me how I’m doing.” Give frequent credit to your people in public but reserve your criticisms for when you are speaking to someone in private. Refrain from criticizing unless you can do so in a constructive manner. (See Chapter 25, Performance Reviews).
  • Recognize that “thanks” is the most neglected form of compensation. Express your appreciation of work well done but do not ever say anything to someone who works for you unless you can say it sincerely. Writing personal thank-you notes has far more impact than using e-mails for this purpose.
  • Build on the strengths of each TEAM member. Do not obsess about their weaknesses. Eliminate time-wasting activities and tasks for your TEAM and yourself.
  • Give meaning to everyone’s work by communicating the mission of your TEAM and explain how it fits into the organization’s overall mission. Obtain agreement from everyone regarding your work group’s key performance and productivity measurements. Track them. Distribute or post these numbers on a visible wall every week or, even better, daily.
  • Hold weekly and monthly TEAM meetings to report on progress being made, new initiatives, important developments in the organization and other relevant news. Make these meetings fun, crisp and informative. Give everyone all the facts on how your TEAM and the organization are doing. Conduct an annual meeting where you discuss the organization’s financial results for the year. Educate your people on what these figures mean.
  • Create trust by being candid with both your TEAM members and superiors. Tell it like it is and say what you mean. Do not waste anyone’s time by being obscure or sugarcoating what is the true situation. When a problem or difficult issue arises, do not hide or ignore it. Confront it head-on in an honest manner. Develop a reputation for being demanding and tough but always fair.
Goals and Objectives
Ensuring that your TEAM pursues the appropriate goals and objectives is critical to your success as a supervisor. Take this action to do so:
  • Involve the members of your TEAM in establishing a set of annual goals and objectives at the start of every year. Goals are the “destination” of where you want your work group to be within one to three years in terms of improved overall performance. For each goal, develop a set of the principal objectives consisting of the action required to reach the goal. Think of your goals and objectives as being the road map for where you want your TEAM to go over the next year.
  • Focus your goals and objectives on what is most important for your work group to accomplish. Therefore, limit the goals in number to four or five with a maximum of two to three objectives supporting each goal. Wherever possible, the goals and objectives should be expressed in quantifiable terms so their achievement can be measured. The level of performance incorporated into the goals and objectives should be that which is attainable with “stretch”.
  • Make certain that everyone on your TEAM clearly understands the annual goals and objectives, plus the road map for achieving them.
  • Remember that individuals are basically happier when their work challenges them in an exciting and meaningful manner. Supervisors typically do not expect and demand enough from their people. In today’s competitive world, incremental improvements are rarely good enough.
Build on Strengths
Build the strengths of your TEAM by following these practices:
  • Enable your TEAM members to be genuinely involved in the decision-making process, especially in the case of decisions that are likely to have an impact on them and their work. Better yet, ask them to do the necessary analysis and give you their recommendations on the decision to be made. The fewer decisions you make on your own, the better.
  • Within the organization, let your TEAM take the credit for accomplishments while you take the blame and responsibility for any shortcomings. The more you credit other people, the more they will strive to make more good things happen.
  • Whenever you launch a new initiative or project within your workgroup, appoint someone on your TEAM to be the internal “champion” to be responsible for leading the drive to make it happen. The same applies to tackling major issues or problems.
  • Give everyone a fair chance to demonstrate what he or she is capable of doing but get rid of your poor performers sooner rather than later. Keeping them is unfair to everyone else working for you. Make it known that you will not let anyone lean on excuses for failing to perform his or her responsibilities. Hold people accountable for achieving their required level of job performance.
  • Encourage the members of your TEAM to use their own best judgment in dealing with any unusual problems or issues when they first arise, especially those involving customers. Stand by their decisions even if you would have handled the situation differently.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to expose your high potential TEAM members to upper management. If you become known as a manager who showcases the talent of your people, you will have people beating down the door to work for you.
  • Help your TEAM members, both as a group and individually, to upgrade their expertise and job skills through special training, educational workshops and seminars. Take an interest in everyone’s personal career development.
Demonstrating Leadership
Develop your reputation as an effective leader and supervisor by this conduct:
  • Observe high ethical standards in all dealings with your TEAM. Keep promises. Integrity is your most important quality. Make sure that everyone on your TEAM shares these important values.
  • Be extremely careful to base any pay increases or promotions strictly on merit so that you avoid any semblance of favoritism.
  • Respect and trust people regardless of their title or position. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, said, “I try not to judge anyone by superficial standards. I try to approach them with an open mind. I’m very interested in their ideas … If I’m talking to a person, that person is the only person in the world while we’re talking. They’re owed that.”
  • Communicate face-to-face on all sensitive issues, such as compensation matters or department cutbacks, as opposed to via e-mail or memos.
  • Make it known that you will not tolerate any political game playing on the part of anyone on your TEAM. If someone comes to you and says something negative about another TEAM member, respond by saying, “Just one minute. I’d like to ask [the name of the person being criticized] to join us so he can hear what you have to say about him and have an opportunity to explain his side of the situation.” Word will get out quickly that you do not appreciate someone saying something negative behind another person’s back.
  • Make having fun a regular part of working on your TEAM for all your associates. Hold up-beat and zany events to celebrate TEAM accomplishments and high performance. Engage everyone in some type of sports activity or non-business contest. Exhibit a good sense of humor. Do not take yourself too seriously.
  • Be especially visible when times get tough. Keep calm and cool in a crisis or when you’re under a lot of pressure. Regardless of the provocation, never ever lose your temper. When you do so, you automatically lose control of the situation. Try not to make rushed decisions, especially when you are in an angry or emotional state. Never shout at anyone. Demonstrate resiliency and bounce back from setbacks with a smile and determination.
  • Keep your TEAM’s workplace informal in terms of dress code and a lack of hierarchical behavior. If you are meeting with your bankers, then wear more formal attire. It may also be appropriate to do so when your work involves dealing with clients or customers. Otherwise, I am all in favor of informal dress for everyday work. I will always remember visiting the head office of The Home Depot shortly after its annual sales reached $1 billion and finding everyone working in informal dress, including both the chairman and the president. Informal, by the way, means “business casual”, not wearing jeans, shorts or T-shirts.
Follow the above steps and the confidence, morale and performance of the people on your TEAM will soar.


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