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Motivate your team

Seven steps to build and motivate a strong team

Building a successful team takes more than just finding a group of people with the right professional skills. Really good teams are continually evolving and developing.

This is especially true during these unprecedented times where the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organisations to work remotely. Now, more than ever, leaders will play a key role in engaging and motivating their teams.

Here are seven steps that you can follow to help build and motivate a strong team in your company:

1. Focus on roles

Hiring someone for the sake of it can harm your team and end up costing you more money in the end. Investing your time and money in a thorough selection process for picking your team members can have greater long-term benefits.

2. Value each team member

Treat each role as an essential part of your operation. It’s no secret that a sense of purpose helps employee performance, so every member of staff should feel like their job matters. This is an ethos that successful organisations, like the New Zealand All Blacks, have adopted for years.1

Always focus on what is right, not who is right. Good decisions are made in an environment of collaboration. By focusing on making the right decision rather than whose decision it is, there is no room for ego or stronger personalities overpowering weaker ones.

3. Transparent communication

Communication is an excellent way to demonstrate value between team members. There’s nothing worse than feeling left out. Keeping a level of transparency and sharing information whenever possible with all team members will help them feel like they are part of a team – even if the information doesn’t directly apply to every role.

An open line of communication helps your team members to share and create a more productive workflow and gives each member a voice. Having a weekly check-in that doesn’t just revolve around to-do lists can bring great new ideas to the surface, or provide opportunities for individuals to help in an area they may not have known about otherwise.

A great team should feel comfortable with, and safe, in sharing opposing points of view and resolving conflict. In fact, good relationships are not characterised by the absence of conflict, but the ability to repair after a break. Clear communication and respect for each other is vital to help resolve conflicts when they arise.

4. Get them to care

You can’t make people care. But, you can provide all of the right elements that inspire them to care about your business, your team and their job.

Your people won’t care about your company and your goals, unless you care about them and their goals first. Ask your team what differences they would make. Allowing them to contribute to your business plan will not only make them more invested in it. It can give them a reason to care. So, they will apply their skills and experience to make an impact and achieve at a level that surpasses anything you could have ever imagined.

5. Make a plan and set goals and clear ownership

Setting short and long-term goals with your team becomes the foundation for every task they set out to complete each day. Being enthusiastic about the outcome and motivating each other with positive reinforcement will help your team members make sure that they work with a sense of the big picture.

It’s important to note that these goals should be SMART so that you and your team don’t feel like you are working for a lost cause. Be clear from the outset about:

  • the mission;
  • the goal(s);
  • the steps required to achieve it;
  • the expected outcomes;
  • the ownership for the goal(s); and,
  • how the team is going to be held accountable.

Having milestones and deadlines can give team members opportunities to help each other out and band together for success.

Remember that buy-in doesn’t require consensus. Your staff must believe in your company, the leadership team and that what they are doing is the right thing. Trust is the foundation of a good team. The only way to gain trust is by not having a hidden agenda, and to acknowledge and deal with concerns or problems.

6. Celebrate successes and failures

Celebrating successes and milestones brings a team together and allows everyone to see that when they work together, great things can happen.

Similarly, if your team fails at something, come together to direct your efforts or turn it into a positive learning experience. Whilst accountability is important, it should be about having high standards and taking responsibility. Don’t throw anyone under the bus or allow it to turn into a blame game. This never helps anybody. Instead, give your team equal responsibility to put your heads together and figure out the next steps.

7. Know each other

We’re not saying you need to become best friends with every team member. But getting to know the people you work with helps you understand their style of work and how to have constructive discussions with them on tough days.

During the pandemic, regular team calls and catch-ups can give team members a chance to get some light relief, provide some crucial social interaction and show support to each other. Whilst after the pandemic, having a monthly outing or regular offsite socialising and team building can give team members a chance to appreciate one another for more than just the job they do.


1 teamupevent.co.nz ‘Lessons from the All Blacks: Create a team of leaders part 2’