If there is one thing I have realized in my 1.5 decade long career span, is that you need to get work done without nagging the other person. You should not keep poking the team member to know how much time they will take to complete, rather than be the solution provider or the enthusiast that the team will want to work with.
As always, let me begin with this incident that has remained in my memories for some reason. I was working with a new team, and I had no clue what their strengths were. I was asked to submit the work within a certain time but, somehow, despite being known for timely delivery, that particular time I failed. I kept wondering why and then the answers came to me from a senior. He asked me to sit down, and told me a few words of wisdom, but not before he asked me how I started working with the team.
I told him I just gave the members their tasks, the deadlines, and then discussed the project like I always do. I asked the team to send me a spreadsheet with the tasks completed and those that need to be achieved for every single day. I used to demand the spreadsheet to be filled so that I am in the loop.
The senior asked me if I checked the spreadsheet to see if the team was lagging. I said yes, and then demanded a double shift of those who were not completing the tasks. I did everything that I could I told my senior. He said something that shook my world as a leader. He told me “yes, you did everything, except empathize with the team, and learn why they are not performing.” That day, he taught me something that I am now ready to share with you.
If you are commanding a new team or even the existing team, here are a few things you should do to keep your team motivated despite the tight deadlines.
» Know the team well
You know the team but, do you know them well enough to assign the tasks immediately on receiving a specific project? If yes, then that’s really good to hear. If you are commanding a new team, take a day off and learn about the team. Know who works on what kind of projects, and whose expertise is into what. For instance, if there is a web development project, you need to know who develops excellent prototypes within minutes and who can code overnight to get the project done in the minimum deadline period you have been offered.
» Divide work into smaller milestones
Instead of working on the entire project at once, try dividing it into smaller milestones. Set the timelines for these milestones. This way the work will seem easier for the person doing it, and you will be able to achieve the deadline you have been given. For instance, the design work should be divided into smaller tasks such as prototyping, interface design, experience design, screen design etc.
In a more personal reference, make to-dos for the entire project, and divide every part into tasks. These smaller chunks seem easy to achieve, and your team will begin working right from the start. Team motivation begins with putting in efforts to understand how best the team can work, and what will make the team achieve their goals faster.
» Recognize the team efforts
Where most managers fail- when it comes to recognizing what the team is doing or, how well they are performing the tasks. Most managers fail to appreciate the fact that a particular team member accomplished the task on time or delivered it much before the time. even if you have observed it, you don’t really speak about it. It is time you start speaking and appreciating these efforts. This will help the team achieve more and give your business a definite boost. Yes, you should appreciate every small effort made by the team or individual members so that they feel motivated. Eventually, it is the team motivation that will help you achieve the tasks on time.
» Make them the owners
When you are made the owner of the task, you take upon you the responsibility for not just completing it on time, but also perfect completion of the task. Once you have given complete information about the task to your team members and made them aware of what is expected from them, leave it to them to decide who will work on what aspect, and make them own the entire project from hereon. This way they will want to give it their best, and being in control, would be able to achieve the tasks in time. Employee motivation makes them answerable for the project assigned to them and helps them to take a stand.
» Stop yourself from asking about the progress
It is important that you don’t ask the employees about the progress of the project or, nag them for any reason. This way you would be able to give them a chance to lead the project and own it completely. In case the project is delayed, you should allow them to face the consequences as well. This way they would understand the importance of being on time and delivering it. If you nag them, they may not get the importance of the project, and the whole onus of delivering would fall on you. If they fail once and face the consequences, they are ready to face the deadlines and are more motivated the next time around.
For a leader to motivate a team at the workplace, it is essential that they are themselves motivated. If you have been working on tough projects and deadlines, and have been failing to achieve the targets, then it is time to change the methods or take a tougher stance.
If you want to understand what is making you fail every single time with delivery, you could connect with me. I have been counseling businesses and acting as a personal coach for several people, businesses and understand the mysteries behind failed deliveries. Just email me or call me with your queries, and I would get in touch with you with an appropriate time to get the meeting scheduled to understand your work better.