As a foundry manager, you’re constantly being pulled in different directions. Amid production demands and putting out seemingly endless fires, you also have to motivate your team to perform at their best. On some level they’re dealing with many of the same stresses as you, so it can be challenging to keep people inspired. The key is to understand what employees want, so you can provide the right environment to keep morale high. Here are some tips for how managers can motivate and inspire their teams.
Participative Management Style
Numerous surveys of employees have confirmed that the quality of the relationship employees have with their managers greatly affects their work satisfaction and motivation. Most companies have transitioned away from having a top-down management style to having a more egalitarian system, but even within the traditional structure there are opportunities to have more inclusive decision making and goal setting processes.
Many professionals respond more favorably to a participative leadership style, and feel more ownership of their work, improving quality and efficiency. Employees tend to feel less inspired when they’re being ordered around or yelled at. This approach also creates an “us versus them” mentality between labor and management. For the manager, there is the assurance of a trusting environment and committed employees, and all the success that brings.
Another way to improve the motivation of your team is to encourage open, straightforward communication. If managers and employees can all freely express their ideas and opinions without walking on eggshells, everyone will be able to collaborate more easily, while spending less time second-guessing themselves and trying to make sense of unclear expectations. This improves employees’ ability to problem-solve, which can improve quality and efficiency.
On your end, it’s important to always keep your word and be honest with employees. Any double-speak will surely be noticed and discussed among the workforce. Communicating more effectively with employees will not only keep motivation high, it will help employees reach their potential, nurture trust, and help employees feel more respected.
Being a fair manager also helps improve motivation. You need to treat everyone you encounter in the workplace with the same level of respect and decency. Think about the managers you’ve had in the past. Did they ever treat you in a way that seemed unfair? A good rule of thumb is to treat your employees the way you would want to be treated if you were in their position. It’s also important to treat all employees by the same standard. An easy way to maintain a fair workplace is to make sure you practice the values and rules of the organization. If employees see that the rules don’t apply to everyone, it will be hard for them to stay motivated.
A strong leader empowers other people. Your employees want to feel like they have a voice and that their value system is recognized. One way to empower others is to acknowledge their strengths and contributions. Show them you have confidence in them. If employees don’t feel like they can make a difference in their job, they’re going to search for a job where they can make more of a contribution.
Much of being a motivating manager is having emotional intelligence. Conducting yourself in an assured, open way, and providing a role model for your employees is essential. It is also important to understand that employees have a variety of different motivators. You need to first listen to and get to know your employees, and then be prepared to inspire a diverse range of people with different drivers. Find out your employees’ goals and ambitions and create a strategy that will inspire the whole team. Otherwise, your employees will leave and find work somewhere else, and you will begin the difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process of hiring someone new.
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