One of the best ways you can motivate your team to work harder, smarter or more effectively is to offer team members opportunities for self development. Whether it’s the promise of a pay rise, a promotion or a new skill to add to their CV, self-development is a powerful motivator for employees. It will help them to feel satisfied about the work they’re doing, as well as settled and loyal to the company they’re working for.
But in order to do this, you’ll need to set objectives. This will allow you, the individual and the team to mutually agree on a set of goals to be met within a specific time frame, as well as agreeing on how you will determine whether or not they’ve been successful.
When it’s time to conduct a performance review, you’ll be able to ascertain whether or not team members have met their objectives, and therefore whether or not they qualify for that ‘next step’ they’re reaching for.
Sounds good, right?
Well, it is, but it’s not quite as straight forward as that. Objective-setting is something that individuals learn over time, as various things need to be taken into account. It’s critically important that you set your team members the right objectives considering so much is resting on it, and there are plenty of ways you might get it wrong.
A very popular and effective form of objective setting is Objectives and Key Results methodology. OKR methodology sets and communicates goals to individuals, while at the same time setting objectives for the wider team. OKRs connect a company, the team and an individual’s objectives together so that everyone moves together - and achieves together – in the right direction.
There’s a lot more to know about OKRs (you can read about the basics here on Upraise), but one of the key requirements is that objectives are achievable but challenging.
To ensure you get the best out of your employees, you should be really pushing them. Being challenged beyond their comfort zone is what grows your staff into the kind of professionals they have the potential to be, and as we all know, nothing good comes of comfort zones where career development is concerned.
But how do you do this?
You should start by ensuring that objectives aren’t too specific. It’s true that goals do require an element of specificity, but if objectives are too narrow they may not achieve what you need them to.
Secondly, make sure you offer training and support in order to help people meet challenging objectives. If they’re being pushed in the way they need to be, they will undoubtedly need a little extra support from you, team members or external trainers. Facilitate training sessions, and don’t unduly punish people for failing to meet their objectives if you haven’t helped them.
Finally, make sure the goals you set are actually possible to achieve. If not, individuals may simply give up if they know that, no matter what they do, they won’t be able to reach the bar you’ve set. For example, setting goals that aren’t possible to achieve due to unreasonable time constraints or a lack of resources within the business is demoralising. It will hinder confidence and motivation if you demand too much from your team members, so be mindful of that!
Make sure you regularly talk through these objectives with the individuals who are supposed to be meeting them. Many employees prefer a continuous performance review throughout the year rather than an annual review, and, if nothing else, regular reviews will also increase the likelihood that these challenging objectives will be met as there are lots of opportunities to intervene if things are going off-track.
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