Managing a team of employees is a challenge involving delegation, instruction and prioritization. Managers can sometimes lose sight of the key to employee performance, which is motivation. Maximizing performance involves three primary factors for achieving employee motivation. These include identifying key strengths, utilizing motivational triggers and implementing a rewards system.
Use Key Strengths Effectively
In an established group or work team, each individual has a set of key competencies that they will be relied upon to provide to the team. Some members have superior writing skills, others are great at oration and persuasion, while still other people excel in organizing the work and handling all the details. An effective manager works to identify which key skills each employee possesses and utilizes those skills in orchestrating the performance of the group.
Ultimately, testing can be a viable tool for identifying skills in existing team members and in adding team members to a work group. In Managing for peak performance, the group leader has identified needs within the group and will seek new employees who possess the specific skill sets which he or she sees to be in short supply when hiring new team members.
Identifying Motivational Triggers
Once key strengths have been operationalized within a work group, the manager needs to focus on sustaining and improving performance. And just as each employee has a set of strengths, each also has motivational propensities or triggers. Many employees respond well to verbal praise for achieving goals and peak results. Others are highly attuned to written documentation highlighting their successes. Achieving desirable rewards, such as bonuses, paid time off or preferred parking arrangements can also be creatively employed to encourage high productivity.
Seasoned managers can often intuit some of the key triggers for each employee. However, utilizing business psychological tools such as the Myers Briggs Personality Profiles* or similar instruments can be effective in aiding the manager to understand her team in more concrete ways. Some managers will actually train their team on using these kinds of tools to understand each other and improve consensus building within the group.
The Myers Briggs categorizes people into sixteen major buckets with four key personality variables as the selection factor. Training employees to understand one another’s behavior patterns based on these personality traits can help each person to gain insight not only about his own personality but the personalities of the other members of his work team. This knowledge will often result in a greater tolerance for different styles and personality quirks.
Rewarding Peak Performance
Finally, implementing a specific reward system that incorporates the manager’s knowledge of the key strengths and motivational triggers of her constituents is vital to sustaining peak performance. Most effective reward systems are as unique and multifaceted as the individuals are within the group.
Creativity in rewards can be an important factor. Some managers use time off, telecommuting options, paid day care, new office furnishings, awards banquets and bonuses as part of their system. Rewards programs are not free to the organization but rather, a necessary business expenditure that will pay permanent dividends in the form of dedication, employee loyalty and peak performance.