Motivation and Discipline: How Managers Can Use Both to Lead a Successful Team
While motivation and discipline are on opposite ends of the management spectrum, managers need to provide both to lead a team successfully. A manager who uses only motivational techniques may be well-liked, but over time employees begin to lose respect for leadership if they feel they can get away with bad behaviors.
Conversely, a manager that provides only disciplinary measures without motivation fails to inspire a team. Once employees realize there is no reward for positive behavior, they lose the desire to succeed.
By combining motivation and discipline, managers create a balance of rewards and corrective actions that drive a sales team to perform better. Try implementing this balance using the following methods to build a stronger, more effective sales team.
Create a Positive Environment
Part of your responsibility as a manager is creating a positive environment where your team enjoys working. By encouraging learning, collaboration, and individual growth, you support your team and promote a constructive, comfortable workplace.
While creating a positive environment involves fostering personal and professional growth, it also involves treating employees equally. If you favor a select group of employees or single out employees for undeserved reprimands, you create a work environment that incites resentment. Listen to opinions from the entire team before making decisions that affect the group, or you compromise the respect of your employees.
Every person sets different types of life goals, including mental, work, personal, financial, spiritual, physical, and family goals. Identify goals you can help individual members of the team attain. For example, a mental goal may be that an employee wishes to learn more about a subject. Help them reach that goal by getting the company to pay for further education classes. A financial goal may be easier, as a raise is a straightforward way of reaching that goal.
Set company goals that your team works toward. Offer something that helps them achieve personal goals if the company goal is reached. Providing a “this for that” goal structure ends in success for everyone involved. By motivating as a group, you foster a stronger sense of teamwork in the office.
Understanding individual motivations is key to inspiring employees. If a team member reaches a goal, offer incentives that motivate them to push harder or start quickly toward their next goal, whether that means a bonus or an extra day off. Even small incentives provide the motivation that leads to future success. Teams need to feel appreciated or they lose their drive to accomplish individual and company goals.
Call out employees that achieve positive results. While the focus should be on professional victories, noting personal wins builds a more concrete bond within the office. It is important to note that any personal wins should be OK’ed with the employee before public mention.
Private recognition for professional victories is fine, but by publicly recognizing great work, the employee feels valued and appreciated by the entire office. Public recognition is a reward in itself. Call out success stories to recognize individual or team achievements and motivate your workplace to continue reaching goals.
Offer a Portion of Profits
Providing a percentage-based reward prevents employees from reaching a set goal and losing motivation. If you offer a flat reward for reaching a goal, your team has no motivation to keep selling. By offering a portion of the profits, there is no cap on how much they can make for themselves—and for the company.
Ask for Feedback
Your team should feel appreciated. By asking for feedback, you communicate respect for their opinions and seek out areas where there is room for improvement. Although this may not seem like an effective form of motivation, showing employees you care about what they have to say encourages them to speak up and contribute to a better workplace.
Outline actions that lead to punishment and potential termination for your company. Employees need to be aware of behaviors that lead to discipline. By explicitly stating the consequences of each infraction, you deter repeat offenders and create a more structured workplace. Employing a three-strike policy allows room for initial mistakes and a subsequent chance to correct. Applying this technique illustrates the company’s disciplinary policy to your team in a clear cause-and-effect manner.
Escalating warnings give increasingly severe consequences for each infraction. Start with a verbal warning that is private and gives the employee a chance to discuss behavior issues without the rest of the team around. Ask the employee if any outside or personal problems could be contributing to the performance problems. Since most workplace problems are not long-term issues, resist putting the first warning in writing. This offers the employee the opportunity to correct behavior without causing potential long-term damage to their career.
Respond to a second offense with a written warning. Documenting the issue increases the severity of the punishment and implies that the behavior is not improving. This written warning provides legal protection in case an unhappy employee files a claim against the company.
If a written warning does not culminate in corrective steps, make it clear that the employee faces demotion and even possible termination. Escalating warnings give your team the chance to fix bad behavior before it damages a healthy work environment.
Correcting by Coaching
This softer, more hands-on approach urges managers to demonstrate the expected behavior and lead by example. Offer the team support and counseling to guide them to the appropriate course of action when trying the correcting by coaching method. By focusing on the person first and the product or service second, you craft a strong foundation for your team. Try the correcting by coaching method if you want to see a permanent change in employees without using tougher forms of discipline.
Make clear the things you want to see, not things you do not want to see, when implementing positive discipline techniques. Positive discipline frees the work environment of negativity while addressing issues that affect your team. This approach prevents employees from feeling as if you are criticizing or picking on them. While positive discipline takes a patient hand, it is a constructive way of enforcing behaviors in the workplace.
Combine some of these motivational and disciplinary techniques to become a stronger manager and better team leader. By highlighting the positive actions of the group and disciplining any negative actions, you demonstrate a fair, yet strong stance as a manager of your company. Tweak and adjust this balance to see how you can guide your team to more successful outcomes.