Leading and motivating a team effectively Essay
Leading and motivating a team effectively
1.1. Explain the importance of the team having a common sense of purpose that supports the overall vision and strategy of the organisation (16 marks) A shared sense of purpose in an organisation is important as it unites employees working in an organisation and can also extend to external stakeholders. An organisations shared sense of purpose represents its identity and therefore the services it provides and the persons and organisations that benefit from these services. A shared sense of purpose is important because it:
•Ensures employees from across an organisation are working towards common goals
•Ensures employees are motivated and engaged to achieve these goals
•Encourages employees to feel committed to an organisation
•Causes employees to find their work meaningful and motivates them to put in extra discretionary effort
•Makes employees more satisfied with their working conditions and pay and makes employees motivated to stay within an organisation.
•Provides employees with a context within which they can understand their role within the team and how their contribution plays a part in that team.
•Enables employees to work collaboratively to achieve a goal rather than choosing their own technique or method potentially at the expense of the organisation or other employees.
•Allows employees to share in the success of an organisation motivating them to succeed both individually and within a team.
1.2 Explain the role that communication plays in establishing a common sense of purpose (16 marks) Communication plays a key role in establishing and maintaining a common sense of purpose in an organisation. The nature, frequency, style and person communicating all contribute to establishing a sense of purpose. What, when, why and to whom are all important factors effecting the success of communication in creating a shared sense of purpose. Unnecessary communication in organisations wastes time and can create indifference to the message, staff moral is reduced and important messages can be lost. In order to maintain a shared sense of purpose communications should be targeted to the people you wish to reach. They should be clear and say the things that are needed – not everything that can be thought of. The “story” should be adjusted to fit the experiences and aspirations of the audience.
Communication plays a role in creating job satisfaction for lower level employees. These employees may feel a need for senior leaders to demonstrate that they too live and work to the shared values of the organisation. There is also a need for employees to feel their views are listened to and acted upon so creating a two way flow of information is key to employees’ satisfaction and to them feeling an integral part of an organisation. One to one communication between managers and there team such as appraisals and one to one meetings are also key to creating sense of shared purpose. Top-down communication has a role in conveying direction to employees as well as clear ideas on priorities and organisational goals. Listening and accepting bottom up communication is key to staff moral, making staff feel valued and helping them to understand the importance of theirs and others roles in a team. Peer to peer communication helps to build a knowledge base amongst staff and allows staff to test out and fine tune ideas and work together more effectively. Communications most important role is to inspire others and to convey a passion for an organisation which other people can get behind.
1.3 Assess the effectiveness of own communication skills on the basis of the above (12 marks) I assessed my own communication skills based on informal interviews with previous colleagues from my roles in science co-ordination and project management. I choose previous colleagues as I felt I would get more honest answers not having to work with them on a daily basis and I have not been in my current roles for very long in order for colleagues to assess all aspects of my communication skills. Feedback was as follows. My written communication skills are very strong. I believe this is mostly due to development of my writing in my previous PR role and the 3 years I spent working with a community of international researchers necessitating a need for clear instructions without the use of particularly advanced English vocabulary. My emails are very clear, they are friendly but make clear distinction between information I am passing on and actions which need to be addressed.
Deadlines and what is expected of the recipient is clearly stated. My persuasion skills were also thought to be strong as was ability to motivate and empathise and bring people round to my way of thinking. One respondent commented that I have a “very nice way of nagging people”. My listening skills could be improved. I am sometimes too keen to ask questions when a person has not finished speaking and my need to plan and “put things into neat boxes” can feel imposing on people with different learning styles and very creative personalities. I also have a tendency to write extensive notes in meetings and 1-2-1’s in order not to miss anything and to record peoples responses correctly – this can, however, come across as my being disengaged from the conversation and “not taking on board what is said”. My presenting skills are good.
My visuals in presentations are clear and slides interesting with good use of diagrams and illustrations rather than overly wordy however I have a tendency to speak too fast, show I am nervous and not make eye contact with an audience making me appear less confident than I might be in what I am presenting. One respondent also commented that I need to “stop trying to please everybody and worrying about what everyone thinks of me”. I feel some resonance with this in that I do worry excessively about upsetting or offending people at work and have a tendency to take to heart comments from other colleagues. My colleague commented that you “can’t get everyone to like you” which is true however you can get everyone to respect you and I feel that as a leader it is important to think about others feelings and make sure they understand the motivation for you actions if they will dislike the outcome.
Know how to motivate and develop the team
2.1 Describe the main motivational factors in a work context and how these may apply to different situations, teams and individuals
Every employee and team will have a different set of factors that motivates them to do their best. The main motivational factors in the workplace are Extrinsic Motivational Factors
This is a basic motivation for work. A salary provides for housing, bills, food, clothing and leisure activities. Some employees will be motivated by potential for pay rise or promotion and an opportunity to climb the ladder, other employees may be happy to accept a lower rate of pay for a job they find interesting and satisfying or for other benefits such as flexible working, pensions, healthcare or company vehicles.
•Personal Enjoyment / Satisfaction
Although not every employee will feel there work is there main passion doing a job they enjoy is important to most employees and a large motivator in making employees happy to come to work and likely to be engaged in their work and dedicated to the businesses goals. A leader/manager has a role in providing a working environment where employees feel important and that they are rewarded for there dedication whether that be financially or emotionally.
Flexibility in working practices surrounding annual leave, family leave, normal working hours and home working is important to many employees. By allowing flexibility in these areas an employer also opens up opportunities for potential employees who cannot work a normal working week in the office. Flexible working can take pressure off employees with family or care commitments and giving employees a level of autonomy shows confidence in them which can be a big motivator. Employees may also appreciate and employers understanding that there life outside of work is important and effects the quality of their work when in the office. Intrinsic motivational factors
Employees want to know that there work matters and has a positive impact on customers, consumers and the world at large. Encouraging employees to always provide the best service they can and ensuring that customer satisfaction is communicated even to those without direct client contact can keep employees motivated and engaged with the businesses goals.
•Recognition / Reward
Ensuring that milestones such as meeting/exceeding targets or project completion are recognised and rewarded is important in maintaining motivation of individuals and teams. A reward can be financial such as a bonus or gift or can be as simple as a thank you. Recognition can be made on a one to one basis, in a peer group highlighting an individual’s achievements or as a team recognition helping aid team cohesion and pride in work.
2.2 Explain the importance of a leader being able to motivate teams and individuals and gain their commitment to objectives
It is important for a leader to be able to motivate teams and individuals as the leader plays a large part in setting the goals of the team and hence in making work of the team members achievable, enjoyable and satisfying. Leaders need to find out what motivates each employee and the team as an entity in itself so that goals can be modified to achieve agreed outcomes and satisfy all team members in a job well done. Some may be motivated by money, some by praise and thanks and some by work-life balance or a combination of all these factors and more. A manager can undertake one-on-one employee analyses to understand employees work-related desires, it is likely most employees will appreciate a leaders interest in their lives and desires.
A leader can help to gain the commitment of employees by being honest and frank and dealing with individuals in a straightforward and fair manner. This ensures each individual feels they will be rewarded in proportion to their effort and also not reprimanded unfairly. A manager can also gain employee commitment by “leading by example”. If you wish to motivate employees to succeed you should behave in the way you would like them to behave and try to refrain from allowing bad habits such as distraction or procrastination to emerge. Being kind, respectful and giving thanks and praise where due will motivate employees to do the same. It is important for a leader to set realistic goals for individuals and teams in order to maintain motivations. Employees need to have milestones or performance indicators and timeframes against which they can set their achievements and a leader needs to motivate and enable employees to reach these targets.
2.3 Explain the role that a leader plays in supporting and developing the team and its members and give practical examples of when this will be necessary
Arguably the most important role a leader plays in supporting and developing the team is to provide a sense of purpose. The leader is responsible for setting and defining a common goal and engaging individuals in a team to work towards this. In large organisations such as UEA there is an organisational goal defined within the mission statement by senior management but this can seem very far away from individuals. The team leader can set goals centred on the teams own daily working practices and herein instil a sense of purpose and achievement individuals and groups. A leader’s focus is to create an effective team. For the team to be effective every member must play there part so establishing a shared set of values for the team is key to ensuring high quality outputs.
The leader must recognise the diversity of team members but mesh these individuals skills and aptitudes together so that each member is engaged by their work and shares a sense of satisfaction in the teams achievements as a whole. Even the lowest paid positions are essential to team and these employees should not be allowed to feel anything other than equals to other team members. A reward system that values the responsibilities of each individual can help to aid this. A leader also develops the team by coaching and training. An employee will perform better and be more engaged with their work if they feel they have opportunities to learn and develop. Making sure team members are encouraged and supported to gain new skills and develop wherever opportunities exist will also improve team loyalty, participation and raise aspirations. Some areas of work can be repetitive and potentially boring. It is a leaders responsibility to make work engaging wherever possible.
In my own leadership role I have previously employed a number of junior staff to undertake data entry. To try to maintain team interest I constantly moved individuals between projects to keep things fresh in their minds and also created informal “awards” for speed and accuracy giving the work a friendly and competitive element. I also invited comment on how we could develop and improve the data entry and offered to relay these to senior management. In order to inspire employees to perform better it is often better to delegate a level of authority to team members. There is little engagement in simply performing the tasks you are instructed to do but by giving an employee ownership of a task or process they can help to improve this. Showing this level of trust in employees, listening to their ideas and trusting there judgement can also empower them to take on further responsibility and a level of self-management.
As long as a team member is given clear information about what you need them to achieve and knows you are there to support them when needed they should be able to progress without the need for micromanagement or dictatorial behaviours. Finally clear, two-way communication is key to successful leadership of teams. A leader may be involved in goal setting, allocation of tasks, scheduling work programmes etc. but can be open to team members comments on this. Asking for feedback from the team on how these allocations are working may lead to even more affective assignment of work. If the team are allowed to critic the leader they may also be more responsive to constructive criticism received from the leader. Praise, when it is due, is a very important form of communication and listening to team members ideas and/or concerns will help reassure and motivate individuals.