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By: Molly Luffy
Okay guys, it's time for part three of our plan. Are you ready? Have you made the commitment to re-energizing your staff? Have you followed the action steps and started to create your "dream department."

Well, just in case there is a small handful of you who aren't quite up to speed yet, let's do a short review...

We started this whole thing with a discussion of how very important your own motivation level is to the success of your department. Unless you are personally upbeat and positive, you cannot expect your staff to be. Your "action steps for success" suggested that you look at working through any issues that are keeping you from being super-motivated. Then it was time for you to make an official commitment to yourself that you were willing to do whatever it takes to get moving on your re-energization plan.

Next we looked at the first three components to the plan:
1. Communicating your plans to your employees
2. Be involved, be visible and be around
and 3. Clarifying expectations.

Did you complete the action steps directed towards achievement of these steps? I hope so 'cause it's time for steps 4 - 6.

Component 4
Show 'em you care!!

Does this sound like a greeting card company slogan? Probably, but that's okay - I'm really not talking about showing 'em you care in a warm, fuzzy kind of way. There are ways you can do this without making them think you are losing your mind. Like listening to them. Think about it - doesn't it carry a ton of weight with you when your boss listens to you without doing fifteen other things at the same time? And what about when he listens and actually uses some of your ideas. Pretty cool, huh? Well, it's the same way for your employees. They want to be heard and understood. And it's up to you to find a way to make the time for this to happen.

Another way you can show 'em you care is to be around to help them out when they need it. As we discussed last time, you'll now be spending lots of time in your department which is where you need to be if you are going to be helpful to your employees. Now I'm not saying that you should put on the baby-sitting hat but do offer to pitch in and help when your employees need it. After they recover from the shock, they'll really think it's great.

The next way to show them you care is to show them that you are working just as hard, if not harder, than they are. Your employees cannot stand figure-heads, and neither can we, right? So make it obvious to them that you are busting your butt to make things happen. But please try not to be too annoying about it. There is a fine line between letting employees know that you are working really hard and complaining/bragging. You don't want to sound like some kind of whiner,
right? So watch it.

Component 5
Foster a team atmosphere

Man, this is a hard one. Employees these days just don't seem to want to join in on the old "team spirit" bandwagon. But if there is some way, any way, that you can enlist your troops, do it. You can start by talking about this concept. In your department meetings tell them that you really want everyone to come together and create a team. Tell them that you expect them to work together and help each other. They'll secretly snicker at first, but after a while they'll start to think about it.

And what's the alternative for them? They get on the bandwagon or they get left behind. When you talk about creating an awesome work environment you can tell them how much you want your department to be the best one to work for in the company. Refer to your "team" often.
Be sincere and let them know that you mean it and that you're not just blowing smoke. This will give them a bit of a team feeling right there. Then, as you start to implement all of the components, a bit more of a team spirit will start to emerge. For example using some of their ideas will make them feel part of the solution and part of the team. It shows them that you do listen and are capable of being "big" enough to use something that you didn't think of.

And try to create some kind of way for them to recognize each other for their good work. For example, you could create some kind of program where they can fill out pre-printed cards to give to each other as recognition for a job well done. The cards would have info such as:

Employee Name:

Description of Accomplishment:


Submitted by:

Then, as they fill these out and start giving to them to each other, more of a team spirit will start to emerge. Everyone likes to be told "Good Job." Even when it comes from a co-worker. Have all employees submit their received cards to you and then do a drawing once a month for a day off or a nice prize. This is a cool program and people LOVE it.

And certainly give credit where credit is due. Share credit for the accomplishments made by your department. In a big way - in a really vocal way. Let there be no question that you directly attribute the success of your department to them!!

Component 6
Make it a constant process!

This is a must. Yes, this type of employee motivation plan does take lots of time and energy. And it will continue to. But you must commit that this is a way of life for you as a manager. Once you do implement the components and start to utilize them on a consistent basis, they really will become second nature to you. It just takes a while.

As you implement your tools, pay attention to what is working and what needs tweaking. Ask your employees for feedback. Remember, you should be doing a LOT of listening from now on. Ask them if they like the employee recognition program in your department. Ask them for ways to make it better and more meaningful. Do they feel that the team spirit is building? Why? What things can you be doing to make it better? Many brains are better than one, so make sure to enlist them in the process!!

Never lose sight of your goals for having a super-motivated, productive, happy staff - the envy of the company. Your boss will thank you because of the increased productivity and contribution to the bottom line. And if that weren't enough, your spouse and kids will thank you because running a department like this does wonders to your stress level and quality of your personal life!!!

Now go out there and be a STAR!!

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