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Leadership: Communicate, collaborate and acknowledge

Leadership: Communicate, collaborate and acknowledge

Q. How do I keep my team motivated in times of stress and the unknown?
A. When people discuss motivating employees, most think in terms of gifts, parties, rewards, pay increases, etc. However, there are other ways of encouraging staff that last longer than the “hit” of dopamine the brain releases from a “feel good” moment/activity. Don't get me wrong, those rewards are needed for a short-term boost, but what builds long-term motivation and loyalty, especially in stressful times? Actions by leadership. Here are just a few key areas to focus on as leaders.


Continual, transparent communication reduces rumors, promotes trust, shows that leadership cares and is involved. It is also important to clearly and frequently articulate work product expectations to your team. The vehicles to help foster communication individually and as a group are endless: email, Zoom calls, internal chat features, etc. Open and clear communication demonstrates that you are in this together and are supportive of the work that they are doing.

Create sense of belonging

The emotional connection of belonging feeds people's sense of commitment to the company and its mission. To promote belonging, provide personalized interactions, relevant and timely communication, and continual feedback regarding performance.

Enable collaboration

Bring people together to solve problems, promote a safe space for open feedback without the fear of repercussions and demonstrate that their ideas are heard.

Acknowledge hard work

Often, receiving a “shout out” from leadership recognizing their efforts and for a job well done is the only credit some need. Sending an email, private chat or mentioning them during a meeting provides the recognition needed to inspire them. Material items can be given, too, in showing appreciation to get those “feel good” hormones moving in the brain.

By focusing on the needs of individuals, promoting honesty and integrity, trust, clear communication and direction, and collaboration, you will witness your team rise to the occasion and be motivated for the long haul.

Sarah Hanna is CEO of ECS North. Reach her at [email protected], 419-448-5332 ext. 102.


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