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Top tips to keep your team motivated through challenging times

by | Jan 3, 2021

I think it’s fair to say, running a business has its crowning moments but it also comes with its fair share of challenges.

Then 2020 came along.

And it brought with it a whole new set of challenges that none of us had prepared for. Like the 90’s throwback big orange tango slap in the face, Covid-19 has come along and we’ve all had to adapt our businesses to this new world.

Since March, some businesses have reworked business models for teams to stay safe and work remotely from home.

Some businesses have put the majority or all of their staff on furlough to cope financially.

Some businesses have had to close their doors at a moments notice, then re-open them and deal with increased demand and workload. Only to have to close their doors again due to lockdown restrictions.

Some businesses have had to make their staff redundant to able to survive.

And some businesses have been able to continue operating by adapting and attending to their consumers new needs and buying habits.

Whichever category your business falls into, there is one thread which runs through all of these – Team motivation. Keeping your team motivated at a time when their physical health is threatened, mental health is suffering, and their safety net of work feels pulled from underneath them is seriously tough.

Especially when you’re experiencing all of the same feelings yourself.

How can you keep your team motivated and maintain your own positivity through these challenging times?


You’ve got this.


Here are 3 top tips supported by the self-determination theory to help you to keep your employees engaged, confident, and motivated.


1. Relatedness

Do your employees truly feel cared for?

Do they feel they have a sense of belonging?

Making time to listen to your employees is crucial. Making them feel valued at a time of huge change will really help them to feel related to and understood by you.

Do not let good work go unnoticed. Rewarding good work is integral to feeling motivated.

Don’t let people get lost in the crowd. Even the team members who may not be saying much may still be having a tough time. Acknowledge and relate to every single team member.

Communication is key. Let your team know that you do actually care about their well-being and not just their overall productivity.


2. Competence

Do your employees feel like they have goals set for them which are achievable?

Do they feel like they are good at their job and that they could achieve growth?

Remember – Trust begets trust. Try these ideas to ignite team motivation:

Ask your employees for input. It could be a new process, a new way of doing things. Make them feel part of it, not dictated to.

Peer sharing. Ask your employee to showcase their top skill and share it with their colleagues. This will inspire from within.

Regular one to one meetings. Set goals, listen to them, work through a plan as to how you can help them grow and feel motivated.


3. Autonomy

Do you truly allow your team the freedom to make their own decisions?

Do they feel aligned with their own values, interests and goals alongside the teams?

Encouraging autonomy within your team is key. Make sure each member has their individual goal and part to play and that it is something they truly believe in and want to drive forward.

Encourage participation. Ask each team member what they feel they could lead on and let them have that freedom to run that project

Avoid controlling language. Telling your team what to do and giving them unrealistic deadlines won’t help anyone. Asking them for their help is much more encouraging and will make them to want to be a part of your team goal.

Be transparent. If we all understand WHY we’re being asked to do something, we’ll all feel better about doing it. This can quite often be missed particularly when busy and just trying to get things done. Explain the context to help your team to understand the task in hand.

As a leader, we often get swept up with the day to days of running our businesses. We’re spinning all those plates, we’re settling all those invoices, and then we’re doing the day job as well.

It is integral that now more than ever you try to take a step back and take care of your team. Consider their feelings and their motivations towards your business. Without them, you likely would struggle to operate so they need to come on the journey with you.

You’re all in this together as a team. But you’re the one steering the ship.

Look after yourselves, look after your teams, and your business will pull through these challenging times.


You’ve got this.