6 ways to motivate your team In a recession

As if business wasn't hard enough, along cameThe a recession.

All the challenges that face the business owner or manager are now magnified exponentially. Morale seems to jump to the top of the list, as it affects everything, including motivation and spirit. At times like these, the owner needs to turn to a business coach for guidance and support. Without a motivated team in place, the effects of the recession will surely be exacerbated.

Business coach training points to six distinct ways to motivate your business team during a downturn such as this. We can summarize them as honesty and openness; gossip management; team motivation; listening skills; fear management; and recognition.

Always be honest. Your team will appreciate it; instead of beating about the bush, creating additional elements of uncertainty, get right to the point. We're all well aware that body language can easily reveal what someone is feeling, so don't attempt and "wing it", as your team will - in all likelihood, notice that something is "not quite right". Honesty is the best policy and you should deliver clear and succinct messages. Whilst you should try not to sugar coat everything, be as upbeat as you possibly can, whilst maintaining that openness. This is a prime time to huddle with your business coach before meeting with your team!

One of the biggest killers of workplace morale, as identified by business coach studies around the country, is gossip. Gossip is viral, and rumours spread like wildfire. It is amazing that just a small snippet of gossip can be blown out of all proportion, as it passes from person to person, from department to department and throughout your organization. Before you know it, there will be rumours of lay-off's, cutbacks, and even complete business closure. It is your job to stamp on these rumours as quickly as possible. If you feel that it may have caused widespread damage, call a special meeting, be upbeat and honest, and put their fears to rest.

Motivate your team by taking them out of the office or work place and into a different environment. This has being shown by business coach research to cause a considerable increase in creativity. Although there is of course a cost attached, you will find that you will gain a lot more than the actual cost as the team members will come back refreshed and with a different slant on everything.

Don't be afraid to listen! Listening skills are all important in the business place, of course, but don't reserve these skills just for your clientèle. A good executive coach will tell you to be sensitive and to listen to the needs of your employees. As the saying goes - "I'm all ears".

Fear is perhaps the worst of all emotions. It's usually irrational, but there isn't anything that will disrupt your business more quickly should it take hold. Paralysis will cause your motivation to tank. Insofar as you can control elements of your day-to-day operation, make sure that you remove any triggers and exercise as much control over your staff's emotional needs as you can.

Whilst dealing with your staff's basic emotions on a day by day basis, don't forget one of the most important motivators of all - recognition and reward. Everyone enjoys hearing that they're performing to a high standard, it's a fundamental human need. Studies by organizations that employ a business coach show that simple things such as a certificate of recognition, a thank you note, a smile and a pat on the back, go a long way when it comes to motivation in the workplace.

Whilst as a business owner you may not have control over many things that happen as a by-product of this recession, if you listen to your business coach and apply these six motivational tips, you will make your role as an owner or manager a lot easier.

About Alan Gillies Alan Gillies is an exceptionally experienced International Senior Manager in the Pharmaceutical Industry, with extensive hands on experience in the development and implementation of Strategic Sales and Marketing Plans.

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