You can tell people what to do. But what you can’t do is make them like what they do.

Some business owners don’t mind having an unhappy team, as long as they’re doing what they’re paid to do then their happiness and state of mental health is unimportant. Not only is this line of thinking wrong, but it’s completely counterproductive to the survival of a business.

Gallup, an American management consultant company, has demonstrated the difference between engaged and disengaged employees. They list several additional things that engaged employees bring to the table: innovation, motivation, and they are willing to take on more responsibility.

That type of motivation contrasts a lot with employees who don’t want to be there. They just come in and do their jobs, but don’t really put in more than the minimum amount of effort required. Don’t expect them to ever go out of what their job description requires. These aren’t the types of team members that you want. But without knowing how to motivate a team, you’ll find yourself unable to inspire your employees to go above what is required of them.

A successful company can’t exist without great employees, and there are steps you can take to craft them into the type of people you’d like to have working for you. Here are some proven methods on how to get your employees to be engaged in what they do.

  1. Be a team, not a dictatorship

Every ship needs a captain, but that doesn’t mean spending every second reminding your employees who’s boss. Your team look to you for support and guidance, but they also want to feel that you are in tune with everything that goes on. Some managers rattle off long lists of orders because they don’t want to do it themselves, or they appear as though they are giving mandates from heaven. If you give the directive and then pitch in to reach the goal, you’ll be showing your staff that they’re all part of a team with you.

  1. Give your team a chance to shine

It’s true that some people are content with being a cog in the wheel. I’m sure there’s somebody you know who is sitting in a job they are indifferent to, so they can collect a pension later in life. Those who fit the mould will gravitate towards jobs which give less chances to develop, but plenty of job security. Those who want more won’t settle for a job pushing pencils every day. These restless employees look for ways to prove that they are capable of more than low-level work. Denying them the opportunity to grow could result in them moving on elsewhere.

  1. Don’t take your team for granted – show your gratitude

Although the two words “thank you” have power, this goes a little beyond. If your employees feel like their contributions aren’t rewarded or even recognised, how will they feel incentive to go above and beyond? Showing gratitude is just as important as the action itself. Rewarding achievement is the flip side to punishing failure, and a balance between both is important in crafting the ideal team.

As intuitive as these three methods seem, you’re likely to know from personal experience that many managers or business owners don’t know how to implement these things effectively. If you find yourself having difficulty reaching your employees, I can help you with that.