Being in charge of a team, suddenly being the boss, is new territory for most founders. And not only that – many have worked in structures where the classic “top-down” hierarchy was the order of the day. But this has had its day, which is why the question is now pressing: How do I promote and motivate my team?
Some time ago, there was an article on Spiegel Online reporting that Generation Z, the young people currently entering the labour market, have very different ideas, values and expectations than the generations before them. The high salary or the commitment to one employer have had their day – what counts is flexibility, a good working atmosphere, fun, meaning and self-fulfilment instead of leadership.
This brings us to an important point, because when you have a mixed team – i.e. different generations in one team – it can quickly lead to friction and disagreements. As a founder, this requires a high degree of willingness to keep your ears open. You have to be close to your team to recognise tensions in time. But far enough away not to be seen as a control freak. Listening is an important factor, as is giving feedback. Deal with the expectations of the team members and look for the common denominator.
The theme of self-efficacy
Especially for Generation Z, the topic of self-efficacy plays an incredibly important role. Few of them still want to be classically “led”. This generation has a high degree of personal responsibility and autonomy. As a founder, this requires a stable level of trust in your team. And it requires the creation of a working environment in which self-determined action is possible. Coercion and control, such as the previously popular time clock or the permanent checking of work results, have had their day. Orders from above may still be appropriate in crisis situations – but in normal everyday working life they are perceived by many as demotivating.
Be the coach for your team
A coach does not prescribe solutions, but in the best case accompanies the path to the solution. This requires freedom, clarity and appreciation for stage victories. Even if you may have experienced or learned it differently – times change. Make sure that you not only focus on the strategic goals, but also on the values that your company stands for. If these are clearly communicated and correspond to what the younger generations are striving for, then it is also easier to keep employees in the team.
The bottom line is that if you as an entrepreneur manage to maintain and promote the motivation that is naturally inherent in people, namely to achieve something and to develop, you will have no difficulty finding and leading a good team.