The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How do you keep your team motivated? is written by Ian Weingarten, SVP of corporate development and partnerships at Yahoo.
Employees are critical to the success of any business and business leader, so it’s important that you are a continual source of motivation for your team. This means not only aligning talent with the right scope of work, but also creating a challenging, supportive, and inspiring environment. But, how do you motivate a team particularly when the individuals have unique backgrounds, motivations, and strengths?
Set up your team for success
Prioritize objectives and present your team with challenging opportunities in the areas that will have the most impact. For those objectives, you must continuously think ahead as to whether the current tasks at hand are leading your team from point A to B and achieving the desired outcome. Positioning your team members well, both within your organization and externally, can also go a long way to ensuring their success.
See also: Why Setting Goals Is Overrated
Pave the way for your team to accomplish their goals
When meeting with my team, I often ask them, “How can I be helpful?” Removing obstacles is critical. For instance, if there are sensitive underlying issues that need to be addressed within your organization, acknowledge the elephant in the room and bring difficult issues to a head with colleagues. Alternatively, you can proactively help your team by opening doors for them and/or helping them craft the right messages to colleagues, customers, or partners. When you help your team members achieve their goals, it becomes a great motivator.
When your team has put “points on the board”, it’s important to give them credit and recognition when necessary, and celebrate those wins broadly within the organization. It is not only a great motivator, but it also reflects favorably on you as a manager.
Lead by example
As a leader, the work ethic you display can be a motivator for others. Be willing to roll up your sleeves. For me, this can translate into reading the entirety of an important agreement or locking myself in a room for a few days with my team to close a strategic deal or acquisition. It could also mean working closely with the team to collaboratively improve a presentation page by page. Hard work is a key motivator and so is thinking bigger, bolder, and more creatively, challenging your team to do the same. Lastly, take ownership and accountability -- it shows depth of confidence and maturity. If you make a mistake, fall on the sword.
All organizations and teams face challenges and at times, you may feel the need to shield your team from difficult news. Instead, embrace the reality and talk through both the positives and negatives -- don’t “sugar coat” the truth. Being open with your team allows them to be driven by a clear purpose and vision, and it fosters trust.
Be open and accessible
While this may sound simple, it’s not trivial -- say hello when you pass people in the hallway, and write a personal email when someone knocks it out of the park. Have an open door policy and take the time to mentor and advise your team.