One of the manager’s most important responsibilities is to motivate their team. This is especially true for managers of remote workers and virtual teams. Often, managers revert to the overuse of ineffective encouragements, such as “let’s make this happen”, “go team,” and “let’s go, go, go,”. How do you motivate your team members without resorting to cliché platitudes?
Ideas for Motivating Your Team
Here are 5 tips that will help you to support your team and to keep them motivated.
Top Tip #1: Communicate Regularly
It is essential that you keep in touch with remote team members. Communication is much more than just issuing orders, checking on progress and sending emails and reminders.
Whether it is via Skype, email, or another platform, managers need to ensure they communicate effectively with members of their team. Whilst this is not unique to remote teams, it is especially important when supporting remote team members. Communication needs to be two-way, timely and in a form that meets the needs of team members.
Without the opportunity of ‘chatting at the water cooler’, before meetings or after work over a coffee, managers of remote teams need to work even harder to make sure they stay connected with team members, are accessible to team members and meet the needs of team members.
Top Tip #2: Give Praise When It Is Due
Everyone has a need for connection, feeling valued and feeling that their ideas, opinions and feelings are important. Managers need to take the time to acknowledge ‘great work’ and to provide feedback and praise. Just acknowledging the work has been completed or, worse still, not even responding at all, is a surefire way to impact negatively on the team member’s motivation. Managers can inadvertently project a sense of indifference or even worse that they and the organisation simply does not care about their team members and their work. A simple call or a special e-mail praising their efforts, commitment and performance can go a long way. ‘Thank you’ are two very powerful, but under used words!
Top Tip #3: Make People Feel Part of the Team
Whilst working from home or working remotely has many benefits and for many people is desirable for many, a lack of connection to the workforce is a HUGE NEGATIVE.
People need to feel part of something bigger – part of the team. Managers of remote teams need to work especially hard on helping team members to feel part of the team. Using tools such as web-conferencing software such as Skype or GoToMeeting or Google Hangouts that help team members to connect and to interact with one another can help to foster a sense of belonging.
Work has traditionally been a social activity by bring people together in a physical location to perform a set of common tasks. Often remote team-working can lead to a feeling of isolation and even loneliness. If team members have no sense of the business they are working for, no feeling of being part of a team or a whole, then it is easy for motivation to ebb away.
Top Tip #4: Provide Feedback
Research shows organisations that successfully use remote-working canvas opinions of team members on a regular basis. They ask for and give feedback to and from individuals and the team. They go to great lengths to find an employee’s strengths and likes (and dislikes), and to find out important, ground-level information on how they find being a remote worker. They might use short questionnaires, take time in on-line meetings (and where possible face-to-face meetings) to identify and discuss broader problems, challenges, ideas and team member needs. Engaging with and canvassing remote workers about their job and work processes is very important. Just because they are working from home does not mean there are not any problems.
Top Tip #5: Quality and Monitoring Tools
Selecting and using tools to monitor remote workers requires careful consideration. Such tools are best when framed as an effective way of ensuring that remote team members are recognised for their contribution, performance and results and NOT as a BIG BROTHER surveillance tool. Effective remote working is based on a relationship of mutual trust and respect. The use of monitoring and quality processes should be perceived as a way of helping to jointly identify and resolve challenges and problems making it easier for team members to perform: they need to be used in a positive, supportive way and not as a ‘digital spy’.
Take a TeamMate360 Assessment
If you manage a remote team – sales reps, service engineers, home workers, project teams or international teams – why not take a TeamMate360 assessment. You will receive a short, practical report with feedback on six Core Skills and 24 Specific Skills associated with effective management of remote teams.
To learn more about TeamMate 360 click the button below:
To make sure you are kept up-to-date about the TeamMate 360, the Remote Manager or any of our other Erasmus+ projects, why not make sure you receive our In the Loop newsletter: