How to keep your team motivated

Business, Industry News,  Principals

Principals spend a lot of time and effort ensuring their team is comprised of the best sales agents and property managers they can find, but even the best professionals can find themselves struggling when their motivation is lacking.

Keeping spirits high among employees is something managers and principals have grappled with since time immemorial, and often the simple solution seems to be to throw money at the problem, by offering employees rewards for high performance.

Undoubtedly this works to motivate some individuals, but a 2014 study by TINYpulse found that the best motivator for workers were camaraderie and peer motivation, followed by the intrinsic desire to produce high quality work and results.

In fact, money and benefits ranked way down in seventh place, with just seven per cent of respondents considering it the most important factor in their motivation.

Such a finding might inspire despair among principals, since both peer motivation and internal motivation are difficult for leaders to have control over, but the third highest motivator was found to be the feeling of being encouraged and recognised – something that principals can most definitely contribute to.

Peer motivation will come from recruiting a high performing team, and that performance can be kept up by principals who acknowledge the quality results produced, and consistently encourage their team to do what they do best. Encouragement shouldn’t be reserved for struggling team members who need some extra belief – it should also be given in abundance to those who are consistently at the top of their game, to give them well-earned recognition.

Anthony Obee, Principal at Bridgebury Real Estate, keeps his team’s spirits high with enjoyable team activities.

“In early December we went to paintball skirmish which, if I’m honest, isn’t really any of our scenes, but it got everyone out of their comfort zones, and everyone really enjoyed it,” he says.

“It was great to see everyone together outside of the work environment.

“We also do other activities, like going to the cinema, or going out for lunch or dinner as a team.”

Obee has also found that maintaining that overall cheerful office environment requires an easy-going attitude towards staff management.

“What I’ve found is the key to a positive workplace atmosphere is great office banter,” he says.

“All the people I have working for me couldn’t be more different from one another, yet they get along [extremely well].

“We try to make light of many situations, and while we know that we need to be professional in what we do, it just means that we can have some fun in the office.”

While few respondents to the TINYpulse survey said money was their key motivator, Obee has found that by assigning tailored rewards to each individual’s goals and targets helps to get them excited about pursuing them.

“The idea is that the targets themselves inspire those individuals to get raring for the new year, to get their head down and make some fantastic results,” he says.

“Each target comes with a benefit of some description, depending on what that staff member is interested in, and each individual is different.

“It’s about working out what’s important to those people, and making sure they know that if they deliver a result which is special, they’ll certainly be rewarded for it.”

As much as all principals would like to think it’s possible to keep their team in high spirits every day without fail, the reality is that such a feat is just not possible.

Even the most spirited team member has off days, as Obee himself recently had to navigate in his own workplace.

“Everyone comes in every day and gets on with their work and does a great job, but there are peaks and troughs in terms of the actual amount of work coming at people, and one of my team members felt overwhelmed with the amount of work they had,” he says.

“It really just took a reminder of the reasons why I employed them in the first place; that they are absolutely capable of doing the work, and if I didn’t think they were, they wouldn’t be in the position that they’re in today.

“It was a matter of reiterating really what they already knew deep down, which is that this is a moment that they can shine, and how much easier everything else will seem after they get past this hurdle.

“They’re an exceptional individual, and I reminded them that I feel they’re one of the best in the industry at what they do.”