Your team is essential to your business. Find out how to use communication strategies to motivate your team, boost productivity and be a great boss.

Being a great boss, team leader or entrepreneur isn’t only about practical skills – it’s about your interpersonal magic.

If you want to keep your team on task and motivated, there’s a lot more to it than just directing the work flow.

Understanding Unique Behavior and Communication Strategies

Your team is made up of unique individuals who are all respond differently to communication. This means you won’t find one solution to motivate your entire team in the same way, or even hope that one will motivate the other because as a starting point, you have to first account for your team members unique behavior and communication triggers.

As the boss, the most important part of your job is to communicate effectively with your team that you recognize their efforts. Recognition is the most important and universal aspect you can rely on to motivate your team so you want to be sure that you acknowledge great work.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, best-selling author and employee engagement expert David Sturt writes:

Whether you’ve had formal training or not, there’s one simple action that can dramatically increase any manager’s success in gaining the support and engagement of subordinates: recognize great work. That means calling out excellent accomplishments by your employees right away—and doing so in consistent and regular increments from the start.”

The question is: how do you do that with a room full of individuals with different personalities and needs?

One new idea gaining popularity for results-oriented leaders is ‘love languages’.

Your job is to find out which of the ‘love languages’ your individual team members appreciate and understand so that you know how to effectively communicate with each member of your team.

Interestingly, ‘love languages’ were originally intended for romantic and personal relationships, yet four of the five are directly appropriate for the workplace.

Understanding Your Team Members ‘Love Language’

To start, you’ll want to take the time to get to know each individual member of your team. Once you get a good idea of how this person communicates, you’ll understand how to communicate recognition and reward to trigger the behaviour you want.

These four ‘love languages’ identify the most common motivational strategies you can use, depending on your workplace, the team member and the context. Keep these in your arsenal to boost morale and productivity with a team that achieves more.

    1. Quality Time: Some of your team members will respond most positively to attention from you, the boss. You can motivate and boost their productivity by spending quality time with them. If that team member does a great job, consider taking them out for a celebratory meal. For example: “Hey, you did an outstanding job today. I’d like to take you out for supper one night this week to say thanks”
    2. Words of Affirmation: There are many individuals who respond strongest to verbal communication. This means that your recognition of efforts and esteem will motivate them and make them feel valued. For example, “I’m so excited about what you accomplished today. You set the standard for everyone in the office and I’m so happy you’re on our team”.
    3. Acts of Service: While some team members want to get one-on-one time with you or get verbal recognition, other employees feel most motivated by you helping the team. These members will appreciate your assistance in an active role and take on more responsibilities to achieve. For example, “Judy, you did a remarkable presentation this morning. We appreciate it. I know you’ve been putting extra hours in lately so why don’t you take the rest of the day off and I’ll look after photocopying that report for you?”
    4. Receiving Gifts: This one is obvious. For these folks, nothing says they are appreciated more than finding a gift on their desk when they arrive for work. It doesn’t need to be something large or expensive but it must be something they will enjoy.And if you want to determine which of the four would work best on a certain member of your team, just watch them individually. What you’ll find is that most people will act in the same manner that they want to be treated.If you see someone slip a small gift on a co-worker’s desk on their birthday, it’s a pretty sure bet that they will react positively to the same type of praise from you. Or, if one team member offers acts of service for others, chances are the same from you would be appreciated.

      As the leader of your team, you set the tone for your workplace. Be sure to take the time to use motivational strategies and positive communication.

      To find out more about the ‘love languages’, watch the original video with Gary Chapman below: