Three Steps to a Team that Will Go the Extra Mile

Do you dream of a motivated team that will go the extra mile? The good news is, you only need to take three steps to make that dream a reality. Want to find out what they are? Tune into this edition of the Success with Employees podcast. 

Hello, I’m Nicola from The People Mentor.

In today’s podcast, I want to share the three steps you need to take to create a team that will go the extra mile. 

For any employer who wants a motivated team that will work hard for you, I’ll let you into a little secret. There are three things you need to do. 

The first is recognise what they do and reward them for it;

The second is involve them in decision-making and get them to open up and share ideas;

And the third is listen to them. 

It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen employers get this wrong. But I promise you, get this right and you will reap the rewards. 

So when it came to recognising the hard work your team does for you, I was always good at saying thank you. I remember once I’d worked on a really big and important project with my team. After the project was finished, I sent everyone thank you cards and a present. I wanted to show them that I realised that without them, we wouldn’t have succeeded. 

Very few managers think to say thank you in writing, but if you do, it’s something for people to keep and treasure. People do remember that sort of thing. 

I think a lot of managers fear that if they reward people, it’s going to cost them money. But there are a lot of different ways you can recognise and reward people. It doesn’t have to be money or a day off. 

It could be as simple as sticking a post-it note on someone’s computer screen, saying thank you and being specific about how they helped you. 

When I was an operational lead, people used to laugh at me because I used to get those gold star and ‘well done’ stickers, you know the ones you get for kids, and I used to stick them on people’s desks. My team used to laugh but I think they enjoyed the fact that I was quietly saying that I’d noticed they’d done really good work.

Some people might think that’s childish, but I think most people want a bit more fun in their lives. 

Plus, if you know your staff, you’ll know who will appreciate that kind of thing and who won’t. It always pays to know what makes your people tick.

My second tip for creating a motivated team that will go the extra mile is to involve them. 

I remember once we had a huge new team that was just about to start on a big project. We all met up at the same time in Grantham, and each of the leaders had a scheduled slot where they could talk about the things they thought were really important and encourage everyone to gel. 

But the manager who was leading it all was really late. Everyone was just sat, staring at each other, not really knowing what to do. 

Suddenly I remembered that I had these conversation cards in my bag. They had questions on them which were designed to help you get to know people. 

I said to them ‘let’s do these as a starting point.’

I asked each team member to pull out a card, read out the question, and answer it from their perspective. 

This created a bit of laughter and interest, and people started to gel. 

So if you’re dealing with a new team, focus on using team- building exercises to get them to share ideas and open up.  

Exploring their ideas and listening to them are two of the greatest ways to motivate your people. 

Listening to your team is really important. 

If they are telling you that something isn’t going to work and you ignore it, you’ll have a rebellion on your hands straight away. 

I remember one occasion in my operational management days, when all the senior leads got together to design a form to deep dive on what projects we were going to take forwards. 

We got together and designed the form. In the meeting, I said that we needed to ask the people who were going to be filling it in if it was fit for purpose. But I was overruled and it got sent out. Then uproar happened. 

People said it wasn’t fit for purpose, and they couldn’t fill half of it in. I went back to a senior manager and he said ‘tough’, which of course resulted in people just not completing it properly. 

You need to listen to your people, and you need to listen to understand

If you want them to go the extra mile for you, you have to go the extra mile when it comes to understanding what makes them tick. 

Have regular 121s with people and get to know what their strengths are and what their vision is for themselves. 

I used to have a quarterly conversation with my team members, alongside the regular 121s. I’d ask them things like what was their vision for 2 years’ time, or 5 years’ time . What did they want to be doing? How could I support them? I also asked for feedback on how I was managing them and if there was anything they wanted me to change. 

One person told me that I sent them too many emails. It upset me at the time because I thought I’d cut back. But it’s about realising that sometimes it’s the little things you do that can demotivate your team. 

Employers have a habit of only looking at things from their perspective. They don’t put themselves in the other person’s shoes. They don’t have the conversations. And when they do find out things, they ignore it and carry on doing it their own way.     

What they should be doing is adapting and thinking, ‘if that was me, what would I like, what would I want?’

We are all so busy, we forget to do that. 

So if you want your very own motivated team that goes the extra mile, you need to recognise what they do, involve them, and listen to them. 

Underpinning all of these is empathy and understanding. 

I remember in my time as a manager, there were times when people had things going on at home and sometimes, showing empathy and understanding meant letting them come in late or allowing them to have a particular day off when you really could have done with them being in. 

You have to consider things like maybe they are struggling with a particular type of work because they don’t feel well or they’re going through menopause. 

You have to know your staff and say okay, they can pick this up another day. 

In the grand scheme of things, I knew that if I looked after them, they would go the extra mile for me. 

So say I asked them to swap their day if they were part-time because we were short-staffed; because I’d bent over backwards for them, they would do it for me.

If you want to create a motivated team, it’s important not to forget about yourself too. What motivates you and makes you tick?

Learning motivates me, I didn’t realise that. I always thought it was recognition. But I did some motivational mapping and someone let me have a session for free. It was fascinating. I found that I wanted to be learning and sharing all the time. That came out in the workplace because I was always the one who would lead on looking at the things we needed to teach others.

For example, we had standard operating processes and standard working instructions and it would all lead to the bigger picture, but it was still disjointed. I would get people to work together and I would get an expert to lead sessions so I would learn from them.

Just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean you can’t learn from others. If you surround yourself with people with different skills and strengths who can do things better than you, you can learn from them. 

Do you dream of creating a motivated team that will go the extra mile? 

But is your current reality a team that’s lost its mojo? 

Is there a lack of communication and daily conflict?

My Manager’s Academy membership is designed especially for small employers like you who want to feel more confident and in control of managing their employees. 

Having trouble with difficult conversations? I’ll show you how to deal with them.

Do you want to learn the secret to more effective 121s that help you find out what makes your people tick?

The membership covers all of this and much more. 

To find out more and to sign up go here.

It might just be the best investment you’ll ever make. 

I hope you enjoyed this podcast. 

This is The People Mentor, signing off.

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