5 Ways to Motivate Your Team

These strategies can help your employees develop the type of buy-in you had when first launching your company

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If you run a growing drain cleaning company, then you know this already: One of the biggest challenges is building a team that shows up and gives their best every day.

If you can find people to hire, they may not show up for work; if they show up for work, they may not do their best; if they do their best, they may not do it consistently.

Fortunately, you are not doomed to operate at a certain level forever, simply because you can’t find the right employees. Here’s why.

Three Types of Employees

There are three types of employees:

  • The “A-players” who show up and are highly motivated. These people are gold, but they are also hard to find and harder to keep.
  • The “B-players” who do good work but aren’t always 100 percent consistent or committed. 
  • The “C-players” who simply lack the skill and inner drive to do good work. 

If you have A-players on your team, that’s great but they may cost the most to hire and keep. Plus, they are a higher risk of going to a competitor (or becoming a competitor) because they’re such in-demand employees.

If you have C-players on your team, cut them loose because they aren’t performing. They probably take up a lot of your time.

As for the B-players? The ones who could do a solid job if only they were consistent and committed? These are great employees to have on your team, but if you want them to do the work, then you need to become a stronger leader. These B-players need a strong leader who can motivate them. When you learn to motivate B-players, you help them become more committed and more consistent, bringing them up to an A-player level. 

5 Motivation Tactics

1. Know their why. In spite of what you might think, employees don’t work for you for the money. Rather, they work for what the money can buy. That’s their “why” for showing up for work. Maybe it’s family; maybe it’s a hobby. Whatever it is, you should figure out what is important to them so you can draw a clearer line between what they do for you and what their salary does for them.

There may also be other ways to show how much you value their “why.” For example, if their family is important, ask about their family, or figure out how to help them spend more time with their family. Or another example: If a hobby is important, find out how you can help them enjoy their hobby more. If they love to hunt, help them schedule their vacations during hunting season. A simple act like that is something they won’t get anywhere else, and it will motivate them to work harder for you.

2. Create an environment where they can shine and grow. People want to feel valued, even though their actions don’t always necessarily show it. There are small things that you can do to create an environment that will motivate your team to do more. Rather than only yelling when something goes wrong, be intentional about providing positive reinforcement when something goes right. By celebrating your people’s successes and making it easy to have successes in your company, you’ll create a simple psychological reason for people to make better choices in how they work.

3. Provide very clear instructions and key performance indicators. Many business owners can be frustrated by their employees, and yet they don’t realize that it may be because their employees are making on-the-job decisions without all the information or aren’t always clear about what is expected of them. You can easily eliminate this by being extremely clear about what you expect for actions and outcomes throughout every work project. By creating very clear, measurable key performance indicators, you show what is important to you so that your team knows what you value and what they should be working toward. 

4. Model the behavior you want. Some business owners might not like this, but if you want to motivate your employees to give their best, you need to take a long look in the mirror and determine if you are giving your best. If so, are you demonstrating that to your team? Does your team drive out to customers’ homes and deal with messy situations while you eat doughnuts and drink gourmet coffee around a comfortable boardroom table? You might be doing important work of planning and building your company, but your employees only see that they’re the ones doing “the dirty work” while you sit in comfort. Show and tell your employees how you are working tirelessly around the clock to build the business so they can have long-term, well-paid careers and cut back on some of the in-office luxuries to reduce the obvious gap between you and your team.

5. Inspire your team. This can be the most challenging of all. Your employees are not just looking to be told what to do. Every human wants to contribute to a higher purpose. So periodically give your team a pep talk that reminds them of their value and the important work they do and how it contributes to the comfort and safety of your customers. Help your employees feel proud of the important work they do, and build a strong culture of pride and service. Share how great the future will be when each employee gives their best today.

A Final Word

When you ran your company by yourself, you only had yourself to look out for. But as you grow, you build a team that sometimes doesn’t have the same “buy-in” that you had. These five strategies can help all business owners discover the power and opportunity of motivating their team.

About the Author

Mike Agugliaro is a Business Warrior on a mission to change the lives and companies of service business owners. Agugliaro and his business partner started and grew a struggling home services company into a multimillion-dollar empire before selling the company in 2017. Today, Agugliaro is an author, speaker, and mentor. He's the co-founder of CEO Warrior, a high level coaching and training organization for home services businesses. Learn more at www.ceowarrior.com.


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