A business’ success is hugely impacted by the caliber of team it has; but that not withstanding, the best team can be a business’ worst nightmare. Exciting as it is to work with a startup team; it can as well be extremely frustrating. The uncertainties, and the never ending loads of work is tough and frequently will get the best of your nerves. Employees are just humans in sleeves and suits making the impossible happen. They have tons of personal problems, they get less inspired to work too, and they have moments of burn outs and mental breakdown often as their bosses or entrepreneurs do.
An excellent team is a startup business asset. A significant chunk of motivation, investment and team priority is needed to keep them highly productive and efficient.
Frequently, startup leaders or small business owners are expected to bear the heavy workloads and create the unique innovations to keep their businesses at the peak of their game. Here’s the rare truth; behind every successful, thriving startup business is a team of talented people with a good leader. Yes, there is always a leader – the vision bearer. A team needs direction, they need focus and motivation.
It is one thing to have an excellent team and another to make them efficient. It is not greed to want the maximum out of your team, but to get that, you must equally maximize every opportunity in providing the best incentives to boost their inputs. Luckily, there are ways to drive your team without breaking the bank or giving away your power to lead and act as the business owner.
Protect your team as you would your business. Even the best teams in the world have needs of incentives to motivate them. You would agree with me that, as much as the customer is your business, treating your team in the best way possible, and even better, would yield you much results. When you treat your team better, they would take care of your customers.
Here are some few tips to motivate your team to give your business their best
1. CREATE A WORKING CULTURE
How many startup businesses do have a defined or a setup working culture? A flexible working environment would motivate your team to give you their best. The traditional settings of the business office where every member is locked up in some kind of cubicle is a thing of the past. Create an easier employee engagement during working hours. I like the open space working environment, where you have a better view of who is doing what and who needs what to do more. Now, that does not create distraction at all. Rather, there is involvement, team support and what I call the “crossover aid”.
What is your working culture?
Is your team allowed to wear jeans and a casual tee shirt to work?
Do you have a strict or a friendly working environment?
Develop a culture that can work for you and your team. But remember to keep it flexible and quite opened.
2. CREATE A TEAM BALANCE
How do you create a balance?
It is better to see your all employees with equal potentials. Equality should mean equity. Treat your team with same importance regardless their gender or skills. Treat all equally with respect and equal motivation.
3. APPRECIATE TEAMWORK
Appreciate your team as a whole. Motivate the team together. Especially during instances where you have to iterate and reiterate your vision and the business goals. They are more effective together than to individualize their efforts. A team appraisal is powerful in achieving productivity than focusing on the team lead or the best individual. It develops a sense of belonging at the workplace. Regardless who did what part of the job or contributed mostly, a teamwork should always remain a teamwork and all member efforts recommended. This encourages healthy teamwork and breaks rivalry. A team makes the vision works not your best individual.
4. SHOW INTEREST IN THEIR WELLNESS
Mostly, startup businesses do not have the luxury of providing packages for their employees or team’s wellness. A healthy team is a productive business. You do not need to have a fortune to keep your team well and fit. Sometimes, words and actions are all you may need for a start. Ask them how they are doing, take a genuine interest. Have organizational health trainings and exercise breaks within the office. When there are tons of work in my office and lots of deadlines to meet, I personally engage my team in brief healthy walk around, have minutes of shared health tips and have some team interactions on social issues or trending topics. These may not work or apply to some working environments but they are surely some effective ways of getting the best of your team and showing of genuine concerns.
If you have more money than enough as a startup business and can afford health packages such as regular checkups, team excursions, insurance etc, just go for it. It would boost your team from one mile to a million.
5. REWARD INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS
Team members know who works hard amongst them. They know their best brains and who is effortlessly productive. Have monthly best individual team awards and bonuses. Make this the sole responsibility of the team. Let them monitor themselves and at the end of each month, vote for their most productive member and reward them. This effectively promotes healthy team-network, co-working relationships, and healthy team competitions.
6. PAY THEM GOOD
A good pay is a huge incentive for every employee. Pay them deservingly. No one likes to work hard for more hours and be paid less or under paid. A good pay, in a better word “deserving” is a good way to motivate and drive maximum productivity from your team. Don’t break your bank account or go bankrupt paying your team “good”, be creative about it.
7. AVOID PERSONAL ATTACHMENTS
Have no favorites. Show no personal attachment to any member of the team. Avoid romantic relationships and amongst the team as well. Personal level involvement with team members can get the worst out of them and create jealousy, laziness and superiority. There are better ways to get personal with your team to bring out the best in them but on a team managerial level. Establish that distinctiveness between corporate relationship and personal relationship.
8. INVOLVE TEAM IN DECISION MAKING
Getting your team involved in decision making does not mean they get to make the final decisions. What is good for them as a team is their best decisions to make, ask their opinions.
Regarding your customers, get their opinions – they mostly have the direct and first contact with your clients and customers.
Operations and maintenance decisions are best decided when employees or Team members are involved. Have regular meetings and give them the opportunity to share opinions and views about issues.
Business decisions made without the input of your team is bound to fail in the long run. Their involvement is best to help you make the right decisions for your business. Collect , sample and evaluate their inputs.
9. HAVE SOME FUN
All work and no fun, makes your team unproductive. Everybody needs some break and a little fun.
What breaks the ice at your work place?
What fun moments do you share together with your team to bond?
No need to be the evil or a mean boss. Be a good boss with a personal balance and little moments to share with your team.
At the end of the day, every employee is just human hiding behind their corporate responsibilities. Help them separate that from their social lifestyles or individual lives – Help here means, creating a perfect balance at your workplace to distinguish between the two. The best part to remember as a business owner is that; you are part of the team. Never count yourself out of the team.
“ We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other.”