NFL Winning Team Strategies to Motivate Landscaping Employees


You’ve had the team huddle, you’ve made the kickoff, there have been a few fumbles, and now the fourth quarter is looming, and you’ve been feeling the pressure. We’re not talking about your football glory days; We’re talking about your landscaping business! Our recent industry poll suggests that close to 64% of landscape industry professionals feel “highly stressed out” at the beginning of their last business quarter. Football players (and fans!) know all about losing steam in the fourth quarter and the importance of keeping a team motivated until the very end. Landscapers can draw inspiration from the NFL when it comes to landscaping employee management. Here are some winning NFL strategies to keep your landscaping crew and employees motivated:


Make a Playbook for Landscaping Employees 

Even the most talented quarterback needs a game plan. The very basics of team management for landscaping businesses consist of clear objectives with the steps to achieve them. Define what your goals for the week, the month, and the quarter are. These objectives may be as simple as executing every booked job to perfection for your clients or closing more sales. They may be broader: retaining employees and maintaining everyone’s motivation.

Next, you need to map out how to reach these objectives. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each of your crew members. For example, one of your crew members may excel at putting a demanding client at ease, while others may be great at delivering under tight deadlines. Place your team in the best positions from the get-go based on their strengths.

Don’t forget the huddle! Take a moment every week to communicate the current objectives with your team. Find 15 minutes every morning to go over the game plan for the day. Your landscaping employees need to know what you expect of them so they perform at their best.


Treat Every Game Like a Superbowl Final 

For your landscaping business, there’s no such thing as “just another job”. In the NFL, winning teams and coaches treat every game like it’s the Superbowl. Your crew should also make high-performance a habit regardless of the job size.

There are two main benefits to giving every job your all: your reputation among clients will be beyond reproach, and more importantly, team motivation will improve. When every landscaping employee is working at 100%, no one wants to be the one to slack and compromise the job or their teammates’ confidence in them.

As the ‘coach’, your guidance in this realm is crucial. Frequent grumblings from your crew about one of the crewmates not pulling their weight? You need to address that. Pinpoint where exactly an employee’s weakness is and try to improve on it. It might be a hard conversation to have, but the morale of your team relies on it. The surest way to lose a motivated worker is to have them constantly pick up someone else’s slack.

A default expectation of high performance attracts and retains the most motivated individuals. You need to constantly nurture that expectation and put your best players forward.


Identify Your Quarterback and Let them Go for It On the Fourth Down

Every teams got one. That all-star crew member who makes metaphorical touchdowns on any job to which they’re assigned. The best motivation for these high-performing landscape employees is increased responsibility.

However, more responsibility doesn’t mean adding tasks meant for others to your star player’s workload. It means a hands-off approach when managing them. Your landscaping team’s top worker has that reputation because you’ve seen their ability and their work ethic. Rather than risk stifling them, give these types of landscaping employees the freedom to take calculated risks. Your crew is there to perform, so let them!

Not only is ownership in the work necessary to keep good employees motivated, but it also frees you to put your efforts elsewhere. When the day-to-day is taken care of and running smoothly, you can focus on bigger, long-term plans for your landscaping business.


Find Your Fans, Anthem, and Huddle Rituals

At our core, we’re social creatures. There’s nothing quite like the chemistry that binds a good team together. Team management differs depending on the characters that make up your landscaping business. Identify what brings your crew together and use it to keep everyone motivated!


We already mentioned an early morning huddle to get everyone on the same page and ready to face the day. Consider implementing an end of the workweek ritual as well. A Friday check-in could serve as a roundtable where you go over the wins and losses of the week. Particularly, take a moment to acknowledge those whose work stood out. A job well done is its own reward, sure, but it’s nice to get the kudos from the boss to keep the momentum going. Moreover, bring the losses to light too, and let everyone come up with strategies to avoid a repetition of the incident. More heads together result in faster solutions and deeper team building.

Football players get feedback from fans. Your landscaping business gets outside feedback from clients. Implement a quick ‘How Did We Do?” style check-in with your clients at the end of a job. Whatever comments you receive can be shared with your landscaping employees. This not only boosts the individuals who worked on that project but fosters a group sense of accomplishment to see a steady stream of positive feedback from the community you serve.

Ultimately, you are your team’s greatest fan and only coach. It’s good to know that every play won’t result in a touchdown. Landscaping crew management done right means you can work on molding a good team into a great team by keeping everyone properly motivated.


What are some of the ways you keep your landscaping employees motivated? Tweet your opinion to us on @gomaterials.

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