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Summer is long gone. We have put the flip-flops and shorts away and have embraced jeans and jackets. While the holiday season will be here before you know it, the next few months could serve as the perfect time to help employees become fully engaged with work.
Think about it, unlike the end of November and beginning of December, other than Halloween, there aren’t many holiday distractions during this time of year. Now is the time to expect the best from your direct reports and challenge them to achieve

continuously at higher levels. You should hold them accountable for delivering quality results.

Effective leaders expect top performance and do not tolerate mediocrity. They have high expectations of the people around them, and have confidence that they will achieve the goals set forth. Remember that people are motivated by challenge.

Now we’re not telling you to overwork your employees. If people are expected to work 50-80 hours per week, this is likely to have a negative impact on morale and retention. So you must always encourage some sort of work/life balance for yourself and your team members.

Still, now is a great time to motivate your team to work harder. As a manager, you have the ability to influence your team members’ motivations. When motivation is strong, performance is usually also high.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to motivation:

  • People want to do a good job. People feel good when they do well and feel bad or discouraged when they do not.


  • People want control at work. Managers maximize motivation when they maximize the amount of control people have.
  • People do not want to be held accountable for things that they believe are beyond their control.



  • People want their efforts to be respected and appreciated.


Here are some additional tips to get the most out of your employees:

  • Involve employees in setting the team’s goals and objectives. Track results. Recognize and reward employees for their contribution to the success of your team.


  • Make sure you communicate the appropriate sense of urgency. If everything is urgent, people can’t prioritize. If nothing is urgent, deadlines are often not achieved.
  • Look at your goal setting and planning processes to see where you can stress the importance of achieving goals.



  • Determine if your expectations are appropriate, or whether they are excessive, by comparing workloads and expectations with peers.
  • Learn a variety of techniques for motivating your team members. Consider that each person responds to different types of motivators, so learn to tailor your strategy to the needs of your team members.



Remember the old adage “choose your battles carefully” when deciding how best to spend your energy. You can’t possibly do everything, but it is especially critical for you to address the issues that get in the way or hinder the development of, your most important goals. Balance the need for involvement with the need for action and speed. Don’t allow decision making to drag on unnecessarily long. Train people in team processes so that team discussions will go more quickly and smoothly.

Work to make the fall months extremely productive and you won’t have to fear the distracting holiday season.