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3 Ways to Help Motivate Your Team in Challenging Times

3 Ways to Help Motivate Your Team in Challenging Times

By Ben Chodor
July 12, 2023

Recently, I’ve seen one of Simon Sinek’s great quotes pop up in my social feeds:

“A good leader takes care of those in their charge. A bad leader takes charge of those in their care.”

This one really makes me pause and think about the impact that leadership has on the performance, health, and overall well-being of a team. Strong, purposeful leadership is something that I pride myself on, and it’s an area where I am continuously working to grow and improve. Every night I go to bed wondering, “Did I do everything I could to support my team and help make our business better?”

I am very fortunate to have a team of 1,300 global colleagues who are part of Intrado Digital Media. They’ve always been dedicated, hard-working and customer focused. But in the last few months, like millions of working professionals around the world, their lives have been upended by unpredictable work hours, new responsibilities at home and changing priorities.

Now, perhaps more than ever, motivational leadership is critical. Not just for business success, but more importantly, for fostering a sense of purpose and value among my team.

Here are three things I do (and encourage others on my team to do) to help motivate our team during challenging times:

1) Say “Thank You”

I truly believe this is the most important – yet most overlooked – gesture. Just say, “thank you!” Whether it’s to celebrate big wins or small ones, recognize extra effort, or to offer encouragement, these two simple words do more than you might imagine. You don’t need big budgets and board-level approval for this one, either. You can thank someone with a phone call, email, or even a small gift. Don’t overthink this one – just do it!

2) Be Honest and Transparent

It’s always important for a leader to be as honest and forthright as possible, but during challenging times these actions are critical. If your team doesn’t believe that you really recognize the difficulty and complexity of the collective experience, how can they trust you as a leader?

Here are a few things I recommend for providing increased transparency:

  • Talk strategically. Help your team see the big picture, the endgame, the forest through the trees. It’s your responsibility to help them understand how today impacts tomorrow. Don’t make your team try to piece it together for themselves.
  • Share financials, traction against organizational KPIs and performance metrics (where you can). Numbers speak loudly and help paint a clear picture of how everyone’s collective efforts are contributing to business success.
  • Be human and acknowledge that it’s okay to NOT feel okay. It’s one thing to be a strong leader during times of challenge; it’s another to bury your head in the sand and pretend like things are “business as usual” when they’re not.

3) Be a Giver, not a Taker

In times of stress, it can be easy to let poor leadership skills like impatience and micromanagement set in. It’s understandable–we want to do everything we can to win, and sometimes that means bad habits creep in, and we forget about trust and collaboration.

But that’s not teamwork. And in challenging times, the collective strength of your team can set you apart. When you feel the urge to dive in and do it all, stop and realize that you have surrounded yourself with a strong team and great talent. Let them do their job and be GREAT!

Being a good leader requires focus, patience, and practice. I’m not an expert, and I work hard every day to get better. These are just some of the ways I try to keep my team engaged and feeling rewarded.

About the Author

Ben is the author of Transitioning to Virtual and Hybrid Events: How to Create, Adapt, and Market an Engaging Online Experience, a book that provides expert advice and real-world instructions for delivering engaging hybrid, virtual, and streaming events, and webinars for companies of all sizes. When not working in one of his many business roles, Ben enjoys spending time with his family, boxing, yoga, traveling, and training for his first triathlon.

Ben served as Co-Founder & CEO of Happtique, the first digital health mobile application marketplace. He was also the Founder & CEO of digital media and webcasting company Stream57, and the former Global Head of Streaming & Virtual Events at InterCall. Ben acted as a mentor for startup accelerator Blueprint Health, is an active investor and board member for digital/tech, and healthcare startups hosts the podcast Insights with Ben Chodor and is a member of the Forbes Communications Council he is also a frequent speaker on digital media and technology. 

As President of Notified, he ran the world’s only communications cloud for events, public relations, and investor relations, Ben continues to transform the way people connect and share information. Ben has always worked to consistently raise the bar when it comes to virtual, hybrid, or in-person events as well as public relations, investor relations, and digital health.

Browse IIL’s High- Performance Teams courses here!

Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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