The key for managers to become influencers to their teams.

Image Credit: Brazzo | iStockPhoto

When Daniel Ek, CEO and Co-founder of Spotify was interviewed, aspiring entrepreneurs flocked to read it.

When J.K. Rowling delivered a Harvard commencement speech, the internet was taken by storm.

What do Daniel Ek and J.K Rowling have in common in these contexts? People were motivated by their words of wisdom — they’re influencers.

But what about the everyday manager that’s trying to communicate goals in a way that motivates their team? They’re juggling the challenges of improving employee performance, leveraging team resources and addressing the needs of every individual. Of course, they too would love to having the same inspiring power of influence over their team.

The truth is, most of us may never have the same large audience to address. And the thing is, that’s not what most managers are out to seek. The concern lies with impacting and motivating the individuals they lead — becoming influencers to teams of any size from 2 to 1,000.

That being said, you don’t need the same audience as Tim Ferriss to be an influencer to your employees.

Employee motivation in the digital age.

The digital age has brought about less structured workplaces: flexible schedules for employees and reduced time in office.

The trouble with having more flexibility in a far more technological workforce is that it creates a gap between achieving a goal and the end sense of accomplishment. Because knowledge-based work often doesn’t produce a tangible end product, some employees have lost the sense of “I did that!” or “I achieved my goal!”.

“Only 30 percent of employees in the U.S. feel engaged at work.”
— Gallup, 2017 State of the American Workplace

While the notion that employees need a tangible goal to feel a sense of engagement or motivation is misconstrued, there is no doubt managers are now having to act as the ultimate motivator for their teams.

Give consistent recognition.

As a manager, you can act as the “influencer” for your team by bringing back an element of consistency to the flexible workplace.

Commit yourself to something small like recognizing an employee for their accomplishments once a week. There is a strong correlation between consistent recognition with productivity.

“Recognition is an important psychological need. Employees who know that they will receive recognition for acting on the brand promise will have a strong incentive to do so.”
— Gallup, 2013 State of the American Workplace

You don’t have to give recognition 7 days a week to be an influencer and impact your team. We get fooled into thinking the only way we can effectively recognize employees requires a ton of resources. It simply isn’t the case.

“When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.”
— SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2012

If you only have 5 minutes at the end of your day to write a note of recognition to your team, that’s awesome.

If Friday is the day you want to recognize your team’s efforts with a beer run, that works too.

Find something small you can commit to as a manager and don’t worry about the rest. The key is consistency.

Start today.

Newton’s First Law tells us that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion”.

The same law can be applied when starting a new habit or commitment. Start recognizing employees with the belief that you can impact them with your positive influence. Pretty soon you won’t be able to stop!

In the digital age, creating a sense of accomplishment to motivate employees no longer consist of material goods or goals with tangible outcomes.

Instead, managers are influencers in their own right that can drive the motivation of their teams by giving recognition. This sense of professional accomplishment celebrates individual contributions to the high-level goals of the company.

This, after all, is how companies drive a culture of growth.