Startup managers know it can be challenging to keep your team motivated—especially when you can’t offer them a mind-blowing salary. We get it: it’s hard enough getting your job done when you don’t have other people to hold accountable. But don’t worry. You can inspire your team to accomplish their goals and responsibilities without holding a million dollars in front of them. And we’ll tell you how.
Show your team you care about their happiness and wellbeing
One sure-fire way to inspire your team to work hard is to show them that you actually care about them. Go figure; nobody wants a manager who doesn’t seem to care at all about their employees. So, ask your team how they are doing—and show them you sincerely care!
Tell them how important it is for them to take care of themselves, and be understanding and compassionate if they tell you they are not feeling well. (In other words, don’t be a jerk about it!) Your team will become more open and honest with you about how they are feeling if you show them that you genuinely want them to feel accepted. Make yourself available. Don’t just say it, mean it. Offer up coffee meetings, live the open-door policy and answer your phone.
Avoid meeting for meeting’s sake
Sure, ditching the formalized team meetings sounds appealing. Studies show that hosting numerous meetings a week is a pretty big waste of time, especially if the meetings are just for information-sharing. If your team seems burnt out and stressed about meeting, rethink why you’re meeting in the first place. Sometimes a simple check-in on projects and goals is sufficient enough.
Hosting collaborative discussions and weekly check-ins will help your team loosen up and help you reevaluate your priorities. Instead of spending time prepping for meetings and formally discussing projects, try initiating a group brainstorm session to inspire your team to achieve their goals and work harder.
Create a positive work environment
A dark, negative workplace is not conducive to inspired employees. So why not make your team’s work space as uplifting as possible? Natural light, comfortable seating, and background music can help set the mood for positivity and cause your team to actually feel happy to be at work in the office. (Psss – these things don’t have to cost an arm and a leg).
Here’s the deal: Employees feel happier when their managers are happy, so if you exude positive energy at the office, your team will likely do so, too. Showing your team that you can be upbeat and lively while working will help them feel more comfortable expressing themselves in the workplace, as well. No, you don’t have to be a cheerleader. But if you come to work with a grin on your face, chances are they will, too.
Meet them where they are
Not every employee will have the same work style, achieve the same goals in the same amount of time, or communicate the same way. You’re leading a team, not an army of robots. Because of this, it’s important for you to meet employees where they are. Show them your gratitude and tell each employee how integral their role is to the team’s overall success. Make an effort to meet with them one-on-one to discuss their goals, and make it a point to help them achieve them. If you don’t, they’ll eventually find someone who will.
These small strategies – being positive, showing them you care, creating an inviting work environment – add up and can make or break the difference in keeping people on your team long-term and having a revolving door of people.