3 ways to build energy in your team that will last

You’ve done your best to energise your team about the year ahead. Your team might even be feeling the buzz and there’s a good energy around the place.

How do you maintain that energy?

You’ve got aggressive goals to achieve and you need your people to bring their best. There’s got to be a better way than having to continually motivate your team.

Shots of motivation won’t last.

I was talking with a prospective client yesterday about their challenge of ‘keeping things alive’. Whether it’s keeping the positive vibe after a team development day, brainstorming session, team celebration, strategy offsite or something else, firing up the energy seems far easier than keeping the energy going. Why is that?

For starters opportunity usually means work and change.

It’s far easier to shift someone’s thinking (motivation) than it is to change their behaviour (transformation)

Teams only change when people within them do

Providing the environment where your people want to tap into their self-motivation matters. When people are self-motivated, they don’t need shots of motivation from you. They energise themselves.

Here are 3 ways to create an environment that encourages self-motivation:

  1. Establish a common purpose that connects people in (the ‘why’)

People want more from their job than a list of tasks to do.  Getting stuck in ‘task’ lacks meaning.  Engage people in a shared purpose that supports where you’re taking the team, what team success looks like and why that matters. When people connect intrinsically into where they’re headed with you, they can decide the ‘what’s in it for me?’.

As Simon Sinek says “Give everyone the opportunity to be inspired and become a part of something that matters. Because really, no matter what we do, we all want to feel like we’re contributing to something meaningful. And that something may just look a little different to me than it does to you”. Simon Sinek.

2. Align your team on how everyone works together (the ‘how’)

I work with teams who say they are high performing yet the people within them have different expectations of how everyone should work together. As a result, trust suffers and people begin to work in silos. Your performance environment, in part, is being shaped by these two things:

  • Expectations: What do people expect of each other? (For example: We ask for help when we need it. We are proactive and solution focused).
  • Standards: What personal standards do people have of themselves? (For example: I am the example I wish to see in others)  

When people know ‘how’ to bring and be their best in a way that supports the whole team succeeding, this is the path for teams to become high performing, especially when an open feedback loop operates.   

3. Create a learning culture (the ‘what’ that supports how things get done)

The energy around people operating at their best is contagious. When people have the autonomy to make decisions, take risks, make mistakes, speak up and receive empowering feedback, this cycle creates a learning environment.

The number one driver of engagement is an employee’s sense of progress in his/her own career. Continuous capability development is one of the most powerful ways to create such passion. Bersin Research Lab by Deloitte 2013.

What would your team say about the environment they work in? Would learning be part of the vocabulary? Even if the broader culture isn’t there yet, you can shape, where possible, the environment your team works in and remove the barriers to progress.

Bringing it all together

People want to connect in. People aren’t looking for injections of motivation from you. What they want more is meaningful progress along an inspired journey. People don’t want to be told what to do. They want to be shown how to succeed.  They want to be acknowledged and to know they matter.

The environment your leadership creates is critical in enabling people to want to bring their best. This is the way to maintain the energy and momentum in your team.

Which one of these 3 areas would make the biggest impact to the energy within your team?

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