How to motivate your team

| February 10, 2014

Michal Bodi writes about how to get the best out of your team members so they stay with you for a long time.

If you’re a small business owner then hiring new people to join your business can be traumatic. But that’s only step one, right?

Then you need to keep them motivated so they enjoy their role and stay with you. After weeks (or months) of training, spending your valuable time, money and resources, you don’t want to have to start over again.

But how do we successfully master the art of keeping our employees happy?

Hire character, teach skills

It’s imperative to think about what you’re really looking for. Write down those really important attributes you value in a person and treat it like you are looking for your business partner. If you decide to advertise, avoid the usual jargon. Write about something you really care about.

It’s very rare that you find the ideal candidate. But you can prioritise. Remember you can teach people new skills and how to make their job better and faster, but you can’t change people. All the efforts to change people historically end up in frustration and people being hurt. People just don’t want to admit it as you think you’re actually doing the right thing.

Communicate and collect feedback

Asking people what their own goals are and how they plan to achieve them before giving them your KPIs can be a powerful strategy. It creates a sense of ownership and accountability. We humans, like the idea of having our own space and giving it a go so we can prove we’re worth it.

Once you know what they want to achieve for themselves encourage them, celebrate their progress and support them in downturns. They will appreciate it even though they really work on your stuff.

Know their strengths

Traditionally, every role includes tasks that we like doing and tasks we hate doing. Naturally and often without even realising it, we become really good at (and spend most of our time) doing what we enjoy. Do your research here and customise the job descriptions, focusing on people’s strengths (keeping in mind the purpose of each role). Especially in small business, everybody tends to do everything and things are often managed by emergency. Working with peoples’ strengths means you’ll get the most value out of everyone

Ensure team clarity

Every team member needs to understand and be absolutely clear on what their role is, how important it is and why. It’s very common that, for example, the support team members (the ones not client/customer facing) lose track of the importance of their role in the whole structure. They have a tendency to think that their role is not important and that no one relies or waits on them.

Have brainstorming sessions where everyone can contribute and come up with awesome ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come from people you least expect them from.

Including everyone in the company meetings and communicating the flow of work and the value everyone brings in is crucial. They also need to hear how much value does the overall business provide to your customers/clients and how much difference you make in their lives.

Sharing the feel good stories and the successes with the whole team also works really well. Only then, every single member of your team is able to comprehend the significance of their own role.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

It’s possible to perform well and have fun at the same time. People appreciate the work environment where they can have a laugh or a game of foosball (at scheduled times). Taking your work seriously and taking yourself seriously are two different things. You’re allowed to have fun.

Unless your business is a funeral home I guess…hmm. Still, have fun people!


Michal Bodi is a financial coach, business consultant and educator. Working as Sydney-based financial advice professional, he has dedicated his career to bridging the financial education gap in Australia. Michal provides expert advice in areas of Building and Preservation of Wealth, Cash Flow Analysis, Debt Management and Simple Solutions to Complex Problems,  and was listed in FSPower50 – The 50 Most Influential Social Media Personalities in Finance.


One Comment

  1. Avatar


    January 13, 2015 at 2:30 am

    One of the best written
    One of the best written articles I’ve read on this topic. Thank you!