Team members need to feel trusted and valued, and micromanaging communicates the opposite. Founders who are prone to manage every detail of their businesses will ultimately kill themselves as well as lose the support of team members. Learn to delegate key tasks and give credit.
No matter how confident you are in your own abilities, you can't build and run a business alone. You need your army pulling you ahead, rather than holding you back.
Recognition in front of peers is the strongest motivator, and berating team members in private or public is the biggest demotivator. Check your use of rewards vs. penalties, with the negatives including emotional outbursts at no one in particular, a lack of feedback and veiled threats.
The recipe for success . . . customers will get what they want, when they want it . . . you will see more revenue, greater brand loyalty, real relationships, and a competitive edge.
The best entrepreneurs never confuse motion with results.
Some leaders expect the team to read their minds on priorities, so they never provide the written and verbal guidance that we all need to feel we are contributing. Others can be heard shouting new priorities on an hourly basis. Both habits are very demotivating.
Great motivators are visible at the front and lead by their actions. Hiding in your office or mysteriously traveling all the time on unknown missions are sure ways to cause the focus of your team to disperse.
If it annoys you when team members ask about their next promotion or talk about other job opportunities in the industry, you have motivational problems in the making. You need to build a habit of proactively seeking employee interests and suggesting follow-up steps.
Motivated teams are the key to success at every startup, yet I still know entrepreneurs who gave an inspirational speech to kick off the quarter but haven't been heard from since, or don't realize that their actions are often more demotivating than inspirational.
Being an entrepreneur, everyone needs to hear a personal anecdote from you once in a while or see you go out of your way to make someone's day. Maybe it's time for a party at your house to unwind, or an afternoon off with the team to attend the ball game.
If you have a habit of declaring milestones or changing them based on the crisis of the day, don't expect the team to remain motivated. Similarly, if the team isn't aware of the milestone and the value behind it, they are unlikely to deliver.
If you dread the thought of wasted time in meetings, chances are that your team members feel the same way. Team members are also demotivated by one-way discussions, haphazard participation and arbitrary decisions. Structure every meeting at the start and summarize them at the end.
If you are 'too busy' most of the time, or locked behind closed doors, no mentoring relationship can work.
Entrepreneurs are perennially short on cash, so they tend to hire less expensive and less experienced team members. Yet most founders are overworked, so they have no time and budget for coaching and training. Team members not confident in their roles lose motivation quickly.
Some entrepreneurs have a bad habit of taking personal credit for all improvements and innovations at their startups. If you penalize or ignore employee initiatives, you can be certain that they won't be repeated, and motivation for more conventional performance will suffer.
If you accept failure as learning,
it's not discouraging to keep adapting until you find success.
You can't be an absentee entrepreneur and expect the team to stay motivated.
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