7 Keys to Motivating Your Team in 2017

As you enter a new ministry year, I'm sure you're thinking about all the opportunities that are before you.  You're excited about what you believe God wants to do through the ministry this year.

But the big question is how do you get your team excited about this as well?  How do you motivate them to move forward with you?  How do you help them catch the vision?

Motivating your team is critical.  You can have a great vision and a great plan, but without your team behind you, it will fall flat.  You can have the best buildings, best curriculum, best budget and best technology, but if your team is not motivated, the ministry will not reach its full potential.  Let's talk about how you can motivate your team to get behind the vision and plan for this year.

Your team will be motivated when you show them that they are investing their time in something worthwhile.  Deep down inside, every person wants to know that their life is making a difference.  Every person wants to leave a legacy.  And when they see an opportunity to do this, they will be motivated.  This is done by elevating the "why" of the ministry over the "what" of the ministry.  Constantly remind people why they are doing what they are doing.  Have a clear, short vision statement that clarifies the why and keep taking the team back to it.  This is key to long-term motivation.  I talk more about this in this post.

Your team will be motivated when they feel valued.  Whether you're aware of it or not, your team knows how you feel about them.  It shows in how you speak to them, how you treat them,  how you supervise them and how you look at them.  You see, how you lead your team is strongly influenced by what you believe about them.  If you trust them, you won't micromanage them.  If you have confidence in them, you will get out of the way and let them lead.  When you doubt your team, you will make them feel undervalued and you will undermine their confidence.  They will sense this and have a hard time being motivated.

Your team will be motivated when you know what motivates them as individuals.  Every person on your team is different and brings their own unique circumstances and personality to the table.  Many of them will be motivated by different things.  It's important to get to know each person and discover what motivates them. 

Your team will be motivated when you remove sources of demotivation.  Stop and think about anything that might cause team members stress or dissatisfaction.  Outdated policies?  Lack of supplies?  Poor communication?  Lack of clarity?  Insufficient training?  Improper ratios?  Getting lesson materials late? 

Be diligent to remove these things.  Don't let poor planning or follow-through be the source of lack of motivation. 

Your team will be motivated when you provide them with clear goals.  During Christmas, I was spending time with my family.  My brothers and I found the old dart board and decided to play.  I was motivated to play of course, you know how competition is between brothers.  But I was also motivated because in front of me was a clear goal I was aiming for.  There was a bulls-eye that I could clearly see.  I had a target to focus on. 

You get the point.  When your team has a clear goal...a clear target in front of them, they will be motivated.  This can be done by providing clear, simple wins for each role.  Here's an example.  You have a small group leader.  The "wins" or goals for this role might be...

1. Kids are talking and interacting with each other.
2. Kids participate in the activities.
3. Kids are prayed for.
4. Kids know the main point for the day.

This gives the small group leader a clear goal to aim for which leads to motivation.

Your team will be motivated when they know they can trust you.  Proven leadership leads to trust.  Trust leads to motivation.  People will gladly follow someone they trust.  Trust is not something that comes by default.  It is earned over time by keeping your word, following through on promises, being honest, acknowledging your mistakes and leading humbly.

Your team will be motivated when you encourage them.  Think back to the people you have served under.  Who motivated you the most?  The person who was always negative and critical?  Probably not.  It was the person who encouraged you, spoke words of life and believed in you.  

The vast, vast majority of your interaction with your team should slant toward encouragement.  This doesn't mean you don't correct them.  True encouragement encourages people to improve and get better.  But it is done through lifting up rather than putting down.  It's done by calling people up rather than calling them out. 

You want to motivate your team this year?  Pat them on the back.  Hug them.  Thank them.  Tell them you believe in them.  Show them the potential that's inside them.

So, let's recap the 7 keys with some questions to think about:
1. How can I show the team that they are investing their time in something worthwhile?

2. How can I show the team I value them this year?

3. Do I know what motivates each individual team member?

4. What demotivaters do I need to remove this year?

5. Have I provided the team with clear goals and expectations for the year?

6. Does my team trust me?  How can I raise their level of trust?

7. How can I encourage the team this year?     

At the end of the day, the motivation level of your team this year will be a direct reflection of your leadership.  It starts by being personally motivated to create an inspiring vision, encouraging the team to buy into the vision and continually building trusting relationships with team members.