Motivation may have been low leading up to the holidays but the post-holiday slump is a different beast entirely. While the new year can bring a certain sense of renewed motivation, the first couple weeks back in the office can be tough. Chances are you had a handful of short weeks leading up to the holidays and facing a full five days and backlogged workloads can be daunting. While your drive may be bottoming out, as a leader, you are responsible for upping the motivational levels in the office. No need to fear, we're here to help. Here are six powerful motivational tools to deploy as a remedy for the post-holiday stagnation.
1) Let your employees take the wheel: While being present in the office and clear communication with your employees can be helpful, micromanaging is unacceptable. In fact, hovering over your employees' every task can take an ax to motivation, according to Inc. contributor Adam Heitzman. Fear of failure is often cited as a huge threat to drive. When a leader starts micromanaging every office task, this fear of failure can quickly increase. Give your employees space to grow. This freedom will surely spur motivation because it implies an inherent confidence in your staff. We promise, they won't let you down.
"It's hard to talk about effective leadership without mentioning communication."
2) Be present: It's hard to talk about effective leadership without mentioning communication. Having an open line of correspondence between you and your employees is crucial for motivation. Huffington Post contributor Margaret Jacoby reported that solid employee communication is often overlooked as a source of motivation. However, when you stop to think about it there is plenty of logic behind this tip. Without consistent interactions with leaders, employees will be less motivated to accomplish tasks. Be extra-present around the office following the holidays and influence your employees with your presence. Let your staff know that you expect greatness from them in the new year.
3) Encourage friendly competition: Competition is a great motivator. And sponsoring some inter-departmental challenges can be an effective way to boost morale in the office while making work feel like an enjoyable game. The Business Collective contributor Bryan Zaslow noted that when rivalries are put on the table, increased productivity generally follows. Set a handful of goals and encourage different departments to reach them before anyone else in the office. This can help inspire higher levels of efficiency from employees while simultaneously building business relationships. A true win-win.
4) Hold everyone accountable for something: Accountability is inherently a motivator. When you keep your team members accountable for specific tasks they will be much more likely to complete them. Try making a board of goals for the week so that your employees can visualize what needs to be accomplished and by who. This simple trick can help increase motivation because your staffers will be held publicly accountable. Make sure you are vocal in your recognition of you employee's achievements as well, as leader recognition plays a big role in motivation.
"Incentives don't have to be lavish to be effective."
5) Create a clear path for success: Many modern-day workers see professional development as a key motivator. As such, it is important that you clearly communicate their trajectory within your company. Use the post-holiday months to have one-on-one meetings with your employees about their career aspirations and then explain how they can move up within the company. Heitzman urged leaders to take these conversations seriously and let your staff know that you are sincere about their professional growth. Simply letting your employees understand their career potential can be a great motivator.
6) Offer incentives (no matter how small): Of course, incentives function as a great motivator. This may be an obvious tactic for leaders looking to inspire productivity among their staff. However, incentives don't have to be lavish to be effective. Something as simple as a $10 gift card to a neighborhood coffee shop can be the kick in the butt your staff needs. Whether the incentive is doled out after so many sales are clinched or you feel like passing out some belated holiday gifts, a little recognition can go a long way.
Whether it be the post-holiday slump or just a slow week in the office, employees can always use a healthy dose of motivation. As a leader, you should equip yourself with tips like the ones mentioned above in order to keep your employees' drive high. The end product will benefit you and the company as a whole.