Top tips for keeping your team motivated
Steven, a Communications and Marketing Officer at Paths for All, shares his top tips on motivating your team to stay up, out, and active during the Step Count Challenge.
I was lucky to be allocated as the captain for our autumn Step Count Challenge, ‘The Hot Steppers’. I discovered I have a more competitive streak than I thought, but this was driven by a desire to lead my team and instil confidence in them that we would win. And guess what? We did! We came top of our workplace leader board with a total count of 2,078,930 steps.
Being a team captain isn’t the easiest undertaking, but it is incredibly fun and rewarding. When you want your team to win, you become resourceful. Here are my top five tips…
Practice what you preach – encouraging your team to keep active throughout the month is far more effective when you lead by example. That means finding opportunities in your day to increase your step count and sharing those ideas, and your progress with your team to inform and inspire them to do the same.
I like to keep active daily anyway, so some of the changes I made included a “false commute” walk in the morning, taking a break from my desk a lunchtime and then again after work to decompress. Additionally, I’d extend my evening walks and find opportunities to combine walking with active travel and public transport if I needed to travel during the working day. This all helped to bump my daily step count to an average 15-20,000 steps a day (ambitious I know!).
The more we did this as a team, the more we formed engrained, healthy habits.
Engage, converse and empower – remember, you’re a team. Everyone has a part to play, everyone has strengths, and we all have setbacks and down days. I was lucky to be the captain to a competitive team who were engaged from the outset so sharing messages through our Slack channel was much easier. We had regular conversations, I shared our team progress from the stepcount.org.uk tracker frequently, and I valued the ideas and input from others in my team when needed.
Don’t forget to have fun too. Whilst hammering home that encouragement to do your best is very important, it’s equally valuable to be supportive and reward your team members for their hard work.
Get creative – it’s not always easy finding ways to motivate a team. You’ll need to put your creative hat on and think of new and fun ways to encourage everyone. This will stretch from the messages, websites and resources you share with your team, the graphics you create as part of your team identity to the activities which might appeal to each of your teammates.
Make it relevant – knowing your team members is incredibly important when it comes to communicating with them on a daily or weekly basis. Chances are you’ll be familiar with your team mates already – great! You’re halfway there. Having an idea about what’s important and realistic to your teammates is important, especially if they live busy lifestyles, or have families. Tailor your messages and encourage them to look at their daily pattern in a slightly different way – walking with the kids to school, taking the dog out for longer walks, or spending the weekend cycling a longer journey.
A bit of friendly competition – competition within and between teams is an incredibly motivating factor, and I discovered that I don’t relish the idea of coming second place. Even in my own team, we had unspoken rivalry between us as to who could top our team leader board, which pushed our daily step totals up. I checked the team and workplace leader board daily, shared the results throughout the week and that generated competition in others when we saw ourselves consistently in 1st place throughout the challenge.
With that in mind, I’m excited to be taking part in the spring Step Count Challenge as part of a new Paths for All team, ‘Wicked Wins the Walk’, and to have been allocated the team captain once more. The Step Count Challenge is a fun way to stay active throughout the working day, offers incredible health and wellbeing benefits, whilst strengthening the connections with your team members.
We’re already off to a great start, putting into practice all these tips between us! I’m confident we can take that top spot on our workplace leader board, and whilst my competitive side wants the first place for my team, ultimately, it’s taking place that counts.