Team Motivation - 27 June 2013
Team motivation, which is different to employee motivation, is all about the ways in which leaders raise the collective motivation of their entire team. Some studies suggest the only way to do this is by motivating each employee individually so that the combined levels of motivation lift the whole team higher.
But one of the most exhaustive reviews ever conducted on motivation, published a few months ago in the Journal of Management, determined that some factors contribute more effectively to widespread levels of motivation than the more time-intensive one-on-one approach. There are six factors in particular.
Team design: This reflects the team’s interdependence. If members of a team don’t rely on each other in some way then, in effect, the team is unnecessary. That’s why team objectives – in addition to individual ones – are seen as an essential driver of teamwork.
Team needs: This refers to the internal tensions that exist within a team. These tensions can be related to tasks, objectives, decisions, or personalities. When the tensions aren’t eased, motivation is negatively impacted. The key is for you to identify (and rectify) them as soon as they arise.
Team goals: A distinction here is between team goals and team goal orientation. The latter is about the path that teams choose to follow in pursuit of a goal. This is influenced by how easy you make it for them to support each other and also by the opportunities you create for their personal development.
Team self-regulation: This core factor can be attributed to feedback loops, which are split into two categories – individual feedback and group feedback. Team members must receive (and, in reverse, feel comfortable giving) feedback on how each of them is contributing to the team’s performance.
Team efficacy: This represents participatory decision-making, which consists of three phases. First, team members must have dissenting opinions. Second, they need to feel safe voicing them. And, third, you're required to make the most of this honesty by leveraging it to increase your team’s effectiveness.
Team affect: That’s not a spelling mistake, by the way. It’s meant to be affect rather than effect because it’s all about the team’s tone. Another term for it is emotional contagion, and it means that team dysfunction can often be the result of a leader’s bad mood – something you’re obviously able to control.
In fact, all six factors are within your control. That’s why the person who has the greatest sway over team motivation is always - always - the leader.
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