Strategies for motivating employees or staff is an always-on effort that also requires planning and consistency
Before rolling your eyes at the thought of having to be one bit more perky in order to motivate a staff you already pay for adequate performance, or coming up with strategies to motivate employees, consider the ritual of a cheerleader.
The day of the big game, he or she prepares the outfit, stretches the muscles, practices all jumps and yes, fluffs, crimps and rejuvenates the pom-poms. In college cheerleading, it is quite the tradition. But why, you ask? Stretching reduces injury. Practice keeps mistakes from happening. But pom-pom fluffing? This cannot serve a legitimate purpose, can it?
Pom-poms grab attention and capture the fans. Fans are the followers who buy and sell tickets. Fans incite the stadium with excitement that shows up on TV and in the emotions of those present who will readily return, win or lose, for that kind of experience.
Your big game
It’s true; ESPN doesn’t televise your practice. Cheerleaders don’t stand outside your office creating foot traffic. However, your big game happens daily with each and every patient and each and every employee and each and every experience that keeps them coming back…or not, for that kind of treatment.
Employees are your biggest fans, or could be, if you continually motivate them in ways that really matter. Consider these strategies for motivating employees and invaluable tips on when to fluff the proverbial pom-poms in an effort to motivate the team that is taking care of your patients.
If your approach to your office, before treating your first patient, mirrors that of a leader desperate for coffee, then it’s likely your attitude and motivation could use a bit of fluffing.
Employees and leaders alike experience life in the mornings before working hours, and whether your chief complaint is traffic, bad coffee or having to come to work in the first place, the employees you lead are picking up swiftly on your demeanor. Be the light that they enjoy coming to see. Strive to be a beacon of encouragement, and provide positive words of affirmation, compliments or even pleasant greetings. Heck, if it’s all you’ve got, simply be the person who makes their morning no worse.
Daily motivation is how you keep the momentum going and it doesn’t require a marching band or pom-poms or confetti. Most of the time it simply requires a bit of awareness, kindness and clarity.
Be aware of the mood in the office. Note when something is off or a staff member has a problem. Take them aside or chat quietly with them one-on-one. You don’t want to lose touch with an issue that could get out of hand. Address it quickly so you know what action might be needed, if any. Share kindness with those whose smile could be brighter and share clarity with those who seem to have forgotten the work guidelines and expectations about behavior once we enter the door of the practice. Daily is a good time to fluff the pom-poms.
And then there are the bigger, championship types of events where the pom-poms get extra fluffing. In the world of work and running a practice, this might be the time when you sit down to have a more formal conversation about performance. This might be once a quarter when you schedule time with each staff member to review goals, performance and achievement. Perhaps this is when you take the entire office to dinner or for a special outing. No matter what, when or how you do it, motivating team members and staff in a bit more significant way has a place once a quarter.
Leadership doesn’t happen on autopilot and real leading doesn’t happen when all you are is nice or approachable, with your finger on the pulse daily. You will motivate employees to do far more, far faster, and far more in line with your expectations if you tell them what your goals and expectations are. When you check in with them one-on-one about where the practice is going, how it’s growing, and what they’ve done to help or hurt those efforts, it makes a difference. Quarterly is a good time to fluff the pom-poms.
Annual gatherings or big events, which could simply be a slightly larger version or more special version of a regular quarterly meeting, should be celebrations. They should be times for providing bonuses, if applicable. They should be times for cheering on those who did well and in the absence of cheering for poor performers, send a message that to be celebrated this time next year, some things have gotta change around here.
Often the annual meeting, gathering, team event or celebration happens around the holidays. Annually is a good time to fluff the pom-poms. In fact, the key, whether daily, quarterly or annually, is consistency. Your ability to motivate and manage the performance of those you lead is less about timing than about regularity and consistency.
The regularity with which you meet is even less important than the clarity you provide about direction, future and growth opportunities. The clarity you provide is more motivating when it’s shared in a way relevant to what truly motivates each person and manages to push their positive buttons.
Prepare every day
Every day is the big game when you open the doors and welcome in patients again. Every day, you want to be your staff’s biggest fan and watch them welcome new business into the experience of your practice.
Maybe first, it’s time to fluff the pom-poms and make plans for how you’ll keep them fluffed without having to consistently act as if you’re wearing them. Motivation isn’t just about being positive and perky, but about being purposeful in how you motivate, manage and celebrate the team you have the privilege of leading.
MONICA WOFFORD, CSP, is a leadership consultant and coach and the author of Make Difficult People Disappear. As CEO of Contagious Companies Inc., a leadership training and consulting firm, she works with all levels of leaders to develop their leadership skills. To contact her or for more information go to ContagiousCompanies.com or call 866-382-0121.