Do you wonder sometimes how to keep your development team motivated. People have their ups and downs, and are always shifting through various moods. You may be frustrated because of this fact of nature, especially if your employees lose their focus and productivity when you need it the most.
Those changes may seem random and totally unfair, but what if instead of being frustrated about them, you took matters into your own hands?
Maybe you can subtly influence your employees’ behaviour, so in the critical moment of your product development you will have everyone in high spirits and giving their best rather than losing morale and being less productive? To aid you in this endeavour, we have gathered some tips on motivating your development team.
#1 Try to keep the atmosphere positive
Some stress may be beneficial, but most likely during development the stress level of your team will exceed the healthy amount and go straight to a level which will be detrimental to everyone’s morale.
Stress can slowly build up from many different small conflicts, so it would be best to keep an eye on those and resolve them before they even begin. This requires a patience and good social skills. It yields the additional benefit of not only motivating your development team, but also saving time on pointless bigger conflicts, which are stopped before they have the chance to grow. You should always remember that doing good things early is better than doing them later.
#2 Accept and promote your employees ideas
So you have a good pipeline which will take your product to completion in no time! This is great! But no matter how good your work plan is, it can be improved. And the ones who can do it the best are the people using it in their daily work.
Even the greatest plan should be corrected during its implementation phase and yours is no different. So instead of opposing your team’s ideas, embrace them. Not only will you make them feel empowered, but you will also get a better workflow, and this will further boost productivity.
#3 Everyone on the same page about specifications
It is difficult to pursue goals without fully understanding them. If you lay out your ideals in an imprecise and vague manner, everyone will have a different vision of the final product. As you can imagine, this may lead to many misunderstandings, conflicts and confusion.
The worst case scenario is that you may have different members of the team working against each other, being sure they are the one who adhere to the original vision of the project and are opposing those who had changed it. You may waste a lot of time having someone working on a piece of software which will be discarded afterward, and this will totally disrupt the whole workflow.
It is critical to make sure everyone understands your visions completely and there are no parts of it that can be interpreted in various ways. This requires you to create a coherent vision and have an ability to share it. This is a critical trait for a leader who wants to motivate a development team and it is your responsibility to learn to do it right.
#4 Praise them for their efforts
Words are strange things. They are cheap, but sometimes they can have more of an effect than actual money. Then why not use them?
Let your employees feel needed, let them feel you appreciate their effort and cannot wait to see what other things they can achieve. Feed their need for good self esteem with your words and watch them became more optimistic and energetic.
For this to work you need to do it on regular basis and be convincing in your speech and body language. This skill can be learned through practice. Always chose the parts of your employees’ work which actually deserve praise, so you won’t seem dishonest when you appreciate his or her work. When possible try to praise them in public, which will further enhance the results and will feel like a reward.
#5 Lead by example
If you don’t show that you care, no one will. Show some enthusiasm for the project. Never abandon your team. Don’t go home early or procrastinate at work. You may feel tempted to do so, you are the big boss after all, but employees will notice. Employees will remember.
People generally don’t respect those who can’t meet their own standards, why would they? If you want to motivate a team successfully, you need to set bar high by your own example. There are no shortcuts.
#6 Get to know your team
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. You need to spend the time to get to know them individually and have a good understanding of what they can and cannot do.
Let them operate according to their strengths, assign tasks to them in which they can excel and you will have not only your task completed faster and better, but also a motivated development team. They will see that you understand them and will feel noticed and needed for what they have to offer.
#7 Motivate them with rewards
Why go an extra mile for the project?
To get a good little reward in the end, obviously! Reward the special effort of your employees in a way you think they would consider valuable.
This simple trick may backfire in one way, however: if you make the rules according to which the reward will be awarded unclear or seemingly unfair. Everyone should have more or less an equal shot at getting the prize, so have this in mind when you are deciding on all the details of the competition.
Those are some of the methods which can help you to motivate a development team. Stick to them and see your productivity grow!
This article is a part of Handbook:Leading a Software Development Team: Guidebook for CTOs and Team Leaders
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