Team motivation can be hard... Especially at end-of-year!
Learning what motivates people is a key part of your job as a manager. Anyone who's taken Management 101, has read motivation articles in the business press, or has had their own experience as a manager knows this. While some skills are optional in management, motivating others is not.
And motivational leadership is even more difficult during the end of the year. Let's face it, employees are distracted by family visitors, the need to buy gifts, and last minute vacation preparations. From the manager's point of view, it can seem like work has crawled to a standstill. So how do you get more from your team as the year comes to an end? Here are some ideas...
Lead by Example:
Your team is looking to you, as they always do, for cues on how to behave. Don't slow down. Be present and continue all the habits that make you successful through the year. If you have Monday staff meetings, for example, continue to have them even if half the team has already left. This tells the team that work is still work until vacation has started.
Make Time for Fun:
Build in some "official" Holiday activities during work hours like cookie breaks, gift exchanges, and the like. Counter to your intuition, these will actually improve team motivation and productivity by clearly delineating times when it's OK to relax and celebrate. When you have these activities, the worst thing you can be is uptight... Relax and when the event is over, promptly wrap up and go back to work.
Peek Forward Into January:
The end of the year really isn't really about "wrapping up" work before Holiday break... Instead it's about ensuring you get a running start in January. This can make the difference between a good Q1 and a poor one. While December is technically the "end of the year," think of it as preparation time for January and encourage your employees to do so as well. Start to frame up New Year priorities so that your team can lay the groundwork and start to "process" what has to be done.
Offer Unsolicited Encouragement:
It can be hard for your employees to stay focused during the season, even if they want to. As a manager, you should amp up your encouragement (NOT pestering). Tell people how much you appreciate the work they're doing or let them know you've noticed some good work. This has the added benefit of enhancing the employee-company connection as employees leave for the holidays.
Reward Performance with Personalized Gifts:
At the end of the year, employees want to know where they stand! Make sure employees they know that you recognize what they've done through the year. Forget boring old gift cards: give them gifts that will hold meaning for them and include your thanks for the special skills they've brought to the table. Make sure you do this 1:1 and in a comfortable setting. Consider our AttaCoin Tokens as one way to do this - each is a high quality gift that recognizes a different employee attribute.
If you follow these guidelines, you can end the year on a strong note and leave your employees feeling good about their workplace and their own contributions.