Commit to a Collective Mission
Most firms have an overall vision, but nothing is stopping you from having a team vision! A team mission is an evaluation of the role the team plays within the firm, and how it can contribute to the bottom line in its own way.
It's a great idea to get your team members together and encourage them to write their own, collaborative mission. First, make sure you let your team members know ahead of time, so they can have some time to come up with their own ideas. Empower them to bring their own personal goals into their contributions to the team mission.
Additionally, if you find one of your team members is having a hard time staying motivated, you can create a mission between the two of you. This activity can help less motivated individuals feel a part of the collective effort, especially if monetary incentives don’t work.
Do Your Research
Although common incentives like social outings, bonuses, etc. can be common motivators for a legal team, the fact of the matter is that everyone is different. Taking the time to get to know your team members is crucial to understanding what makes them want to come to work each day. Part of being a leader means establishing a bond with your less-motivated team members; listening to them and understanding the nuances of their behavior. Come to your 1-on-1s prepared to ask questions on how you can help improve their workplace happiness. Then, from there, you can work together to stay open to their needs and support them in their progress.
Let Them Take The Lead
Although taking the first step when you notice a discouraged team member is helpful, it’s important to understand that no change will happen unless they are doing the work. Understand that always being the leader can have an adverse effect on your team; causing them to be too dependent on your support. Your job is to create an environment in which your team can succeed, but they have to decide to work.
You can set this expectation in different ways. Perhaps you ask a team member to take charge at the next meeting. You might also establish a policy of “solution-based” complaints, in which everyone with an issue is expected to present it with an idea for a solution. If team members react well to this approach, they will continue to feel empowered to help themselves.
Make Sure Money Isn’t Always On The Table
The Legal industry can sometimes be quite ‘one-note’ in terms of rewards, but don’t let money be your only tool to motivate your team members. Wages have their place in helping incentivize someone, but you need to pay attention to inspiration.
Perhaps you can focus on career growth. Inspiring your team members to go to trainings, or create their own for the rest of the team, is a good place to start. A mentorship program can be organized if you’re in a larger firm. Use the research you’ve done on your team to help you come up with the best non-monetary incentive.
Encourage A Feedback Culture
All of these ideas are about creating pathways towards a healthy mindset with each of your team members. As any good leader knows, part of a successful team is keeping the pulse. Encourage everyone to critique your efforts in an organized, respectful manner. Build time into meetings for your teammates to speak on the strategies that are working and those that need improvement. This regular invitation will further help them to invest themselves in the process, and keep track of your progress. It will also show them what it means to benefit from the feedback of your peers.
Creating this back and forth between you and each individual team member is helpful as well. Since you’ve taken the time to create a mission together, keep evaluating your efforts or if you need to change your focus. Most people need to have their voice be heard, and the best way to offer that is through feedback.