How do I Motivate my Team
Successfully motivate my team is an ongoing challenge, quite sophisticated yet rewarding. It’s like steering a ship toward its destination, keeping course without ever arriving. Motivating factors are based on two influencing environments. The existence of a comfortable, clean environment free of negative mental and physical impacts (foundation), and stimulating influences that strive for and enhance satisfaction and contentment (stimulation).
For example, how could we expect a team to be motivated if their environment in uncomfortable, dirty or hazardous? Or would a team excel if there is no challenge or at least interest in what they do, even in a modern and clean office?
Whatever the criteria, lack of good foundation tends to pull team motivation into negative territory while a very good foundation doesn’t necessarily generate motivation. On the other hand, positive stimulation enhances motivation, while a lack thereof does not necessarily pull motivation into the negative. Hence, lack of one tends to negate the other.
So, how do I motivate my team within the groups of foundation and stimulation?
Motivate my team with a positive foundation
A clean workplace, both physically and mentally is a prerequisite. That means a decent desk with a comfortable chair, appropriately sized monitor with a powerful computer in a quite, friendly environment. Forget everything else until this is in place. Imagine how a developer feels if we hand him an inadequate computer? Would he feel motivated?
Nothing is more detrimental than expecting to be laid off any day now. If you want a motivated team member, make him/her feel a solid part of the team with a bright future. Or if you feel like he/her is not a fit, find another solution. But ultimately replace the spot with someone you can stand behind. You will be doing both of you a favor.
Lots of managers and leader assume that money is a great motivating factor. I think a competitive salary is a necessity, anything above is good will, but rarely a lasting motivating factor. On the other side, an underpaid developer certainly becomes less motivated once he gains awareness of the fact. Hence, ensure your team is fairly compensated before attempting to implement stimulation factors.
Motivate my team by stimulating motivation
Interest in work
There is little hope of motivation if there is no interest in work. Intelligence elevated level professions are less likely to encounter a lack of interest in work, compared to mentally less demanding jobs often seen in the public sector. Lack of interest in development jobs are fairly easily spotted, and helping an individual finding his/her passion and help finding a way to a better fulfilled career is a much better investment of my time than trying to motivate and uninterested individual.
Job recognition in software development offers many options. One is to publicly enable and promote his/her personal involvement in public engagements, even sharing or open sourcing of his/her code bases in accordance with company guidelines. Another good method is to make an individual technical leader or a project and expose him/her as contact to external teams.
Awards and official recognition within the company is an excellent way of showing appreciation crossing the team boundaries.
A clear career path with potential promotions along the way works well with already motivated developers. It fosters ownership, self management, proactive thinking and acting in the best interest of the institution. Coupled with the ability to make decisions and motivate others, a new potential leader can develop.
A basic need of any motivated developer is a good sense of responsibility. As a leader, I need to give trust and confidence, and let a developer know that I count on them. In turn, embers feel what the impact and importance of their contribution makes to the team. Instill true trust and confidence and your team members will deliver.
While I already mentioned that compensation is not really a stimulating factor, I find that a bonus represents a goal, an achievement. Therefore, it’s different from salary which is already given. A bonus is often visualized and deserves its place as motivation.
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