A leader is only as good as their ability to inspire their team. If the people you work with don’t feel engaged with their jobs, their creativity will run dry and you won’t get the results you want.
Every team is unique and responds to different motivational tactics, so it’s important to understand what’s going to work best for your people. To help, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
Q. Getting team members and leaders to be engaged and active is vital for long-term success, not to mention to generate an atmosphere of creativity. What is an effective technique you use to motivate those around you, and why does it work?
Their best answers are below:
1. Set a Positive Example
Live the example with great energy and you’ll succeed in motivating your team. One of the best ways to motivate is to lead by example. That often means checking your ego at the door, being smart and empathetic, and always being willing to take the first risk and stick your neck out. Great leaders shelter their team. Inspire them by showing them how it’s done. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
2. Get Employee Feedback
To keep employees motivated, you need to know what they are thinking. Do they feel there are problems that never get addressed? Are they confused about a new initiative? Then, schedule regular sessions for your employees to air any concerns, ask questions, and brainstorm. If morale is down, you can identify the reason, and then figure out who needs motivation and how to spark it. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Gamify the Experience
I have always noticed how engaged team members are when they earn something and there is a reward involved, especially when the team members like to get competitive. It makes it fun and the bond between people becomes a lot closer. I suggest gamifying your experience. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
4. Give Public Praise and Private Criticism
I reward behavior I like by praising it and boasting on my team member’s behalf in front of the whole team. I promise you other people perk up and try to do a version of whatever behavior I praised. I never, ever punish someone for bringing me a bad idea. I respect their intelligence by telling them in detail why it’s not right for us. – Chris Quiocho, Offland Media
5. Send New Types of Projects Their Way
I give people new things they’ve never tried and let them spend time exploring and learning. This is the best way to stimulate creativity and maintain a high level of motivation. – Angela Ruth, Calendar
6. Maintain Transparency
As a leader, it’s important to inspire your employees to speak up by maintaining transparency and open communication. Remind them of the big picture and let them know how they fit into the company’s success story. Feeling confident in the success of the company, the stability of their role, and the security to speak up when unhappy — these are the necessary ingredients for motivated employees. – Roger Lee, Human Interest 401(k)
7. Embrace and Unleash Their Individuality
By learning about what motivates and drives each team member, you can unleash what makes them an amazing and unique individual. Ask questions outside of the box to learn about what excites people, and then make it your mission to give them more of that. I regularly ask myself, “How can I be the best part of their day today?” – Rachel Beider, Massage Outpost
8. Ask Them How to Implement Their Ideas
Every employee wants to have a meaningful impact on the organization. While ideas are nice, solutions are better. We keep our employees engaged by encouraging them to share novel suggestions along with steps for implementation. That makes it easy for us to turn those proposals into something actionable that can increase employee happiness, improve customer satisfaction, and grow the business. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
9. Connect Them to the Larger Vision
The best way to drive engagement is to share your vision with the team. Remind them why they do what they do. Help them to see how they fit into the bigger picture. Most people are not motivated by money; they’re motivated by being part of something bigger than themselves. If you as the leader can help them see the bigger picture then they will be more engaged, creative, and loyal to the business. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
10. Invest in Employee Development
An initiative we’ve implemented to encourage engagement is “Lunch and Learn” sessions. An alternative to formal seminars, team members are encouraged to teach each other something new — from life skills to blockchain technology to art and design. Not only a great platform for employees to share their ideas and showcase their talents, it also builds confidence and a stronger work culture. – Stephen Ufford, Trulioo
11. Offer Cash Bonuses and Prizes
Who doesn’t like extra cash in their pocket? I give out prizes to my employees if they hit the certain quota for the month. Bonus and cash prizes are a performance-driven factor. This motivates them to work harder while staying competitive with one another. It also creates team building culture, because we get to celebrate our wins altogether as a team. – Fritz Colcol, Simply Thalia
12. Remain Open to Suggestions Through Active Listening
The first step in letting your employees know that you are open to suggestion is being an active listener. While you might be the one who eventually makes all important decisions, taking input from different quarters makes others feel they have a say in the matter. Once you encourage people around you to share their ideas, you start a breeding ground for creativity and outside-the-box thinking. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns
13. Show Them You Care About Them As People
Being the leader of a team comes with a lot of responsibility. They are leasing their time and talent to you, and you can’t take that lightly. You really have to look out for their overall happiness level. We do team training on the three aspects of a person’s life: health, wealth, and family. We try to make sure that everyone focuses on themselves first so they can show up for others. – James Guldan, Vision Tech Team
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.