As a team leader it can be exhausting to juggle all of your own duties, let alone make sure that everyone else is motivated enough to carry out theirs. I’ve learned that the hard way after two and a half years of heading up our marketing team.
Add in that we’re all remote workers who have never met each other in person, and you have a recipe for low motivation all around.
Thankfully, necessity breeds innovation, and through a brutal run of trial-and-error I’ve found five core tips to help inspire your team and keep everyone motivated all day, every day. Let’s begin.
Have regular meetings
We’re starting off easy – you need to communicate regularly in meetings. These are as much to keep tabs on everyone’s progress as they are to give an extra sense of accountability to the time they spend on tasks, and to praise any significant progress that’s being made.
The frequency of meetings will depend on when your schedules line up (especially if you’re working with someone overseas), but we aim for four meetings every week which works brilliantly.
Two are on Tuesday and Thursday morning, and consist of everyone in the marketing team. Here is where we quickly go through our achievements, what we need help with, and what we’ll be working on in the coming days, meaning that everyone essentially creates a schedule they will then have to stick to.
The others are on the same days but in the evening, and our CEO joins in the call. These tend to be a little longer, as anything that needs his approval is brought up here (approving project ideas, final versions of blog posts, etc). Having such calls with the CEO also naturally boost our motivation, even if it’s due to not wanting to look like we haven’t done any work.
Encourage them to work at their “peak” times
Everyone has a set time of day where they are naturally more productive. For me (and most of my team) that’s our respective mornings, but we also have a developer who works best in the dead of night.
If you’re in an office then this could be more of a problem, but since we’re already a remote team spanning several time zones, we actively encourage our team to work at whatever time of day they are most productive. After all, beyond making the calls and presenting work for review, it doesn’t matter precisely when our team puts their hours in, only that they actually do them.
As you can probably imagine, letting everyone work at their most productive time of day is fantastic for boosting motivation, but it also works wonders for their general output, since they’re allowed to work at the height of their focus.
Document your processes
I can’t stress enough how much documenting our business processes has helped every single member of our team stay motivated during a rough patch. Everyone loses focus eventually, but by having a process that requires little to no friction or guesswork, you can naturally push your team through every step they need to complete.
By creating a repeatable (and measurable) process which is simple, yet thorough enough for even a new employee to complete to a high level, you’re effectively making everyone’s job easier. They no longer have to stop and think about what they have to do next, because it’s right in front of them.
Not only that, but the number of times your team has to break their concentration to help out a teammate who’s stuck will drastically reduce, which lets both them and the person they’d be helping stay focused and motivated.
If you don’t already know about how effective your team can be by taking the time to create business systems and processes, this is the single biggest thing you can do to keep motivation and productivity at an all-time high.
Automate whatever you can
Finally, if you haven’t heard about business process automation you really need to look into it. By letting services like Zapier interact with the applications you already use, you can let any process which doesn’t require human thought be automatically completed for you.
For example, rather than manually saving email attachments to your cloud storage account, you can have Zapier automatically do that for you. Another great use case is keeping your CRM data up-to-date by linking it with any app which collects customer data, such as Typeform.
Automating tasks like these clears them from your team’s daily to do list, letting them stay motivated and plough on with items that are a little more engaging than shifting data around.
And there you have it – my five main tips for helping your team stay motivated all day, every day. How about you? How do you keep your team motivated? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, where he writes on startups, SaaS, and workflows. In his spare time, he runs Secret Cave, a blog about obscure entertainment and internet culture.