Providing Ready-To-Use Leadership Tools. Sign-up for Free Tools
Leadership motivation is a common topic for people in management.
A leader's ability to positively influence and motivate the team to work towards a common goal is key to the success of any organization.
Too often leaders mistakenly believe they are "motivating" their team by taking a continuously firm approach. They are always on the lookout for what's going wrong so they can quickly fix it.
While it's important to identify and fix issues quickly, leaders should do so in a supportive way as to not create a negative work environment where team members feel like they are always walking on egg-shells. They key here is balance and moderation.
If you have to hold someone accountable for repeated behavioral or performance issues, it's important to set firm expectations, but you can balance that with also being supportive.
The choice of words you use will make all the difference.
"It's important for leaders to remember that before putting others in their place, you should first put yourself in their place."
For example, consider this approach: "Joe, this is the third time I've had to talk to you about this and it had better be the last, or else you're fired!" Definitely firm, but WOW, what does that say about the leader? I.e., short fuse, unpolished, overly emotional, rude, uncaring, rookie, etc.
Good news... there's a better more balanced approach: "Joe, your success here is important to me so I'm going be as direct as I can because I know that if you set your mind to it, you can move past this in a positive way. Ultimately Joe, it's up to you to make choices that meet and even exceed the expectations of our workplace; taking actions that will serve you well, and not work against you. That's my hope for you Joe. However, if we do have to address this issue again, my message will still be one of support, but I'll be wishing you well in your next endeavor. Joe, I hope you won't let that happen." Still a firm message but also supportive, demonstrating a thoughtful, fair, strong, confident and caring leader.
Yes, it takes more time to send a balanced (firm yet supportive) message, but it's in everyone's best interest for Joe to be successful so it's definitely worth a little extra effort.
We covered seven characteristics of team motivation in the article, Leadership Training That Transforms. Leadership motivation skills can be developed by taking a closer look at those seven characteristics.
You may be surprised to learn that the seven characteristics of leadership do not require a person to be an exceptional speaker, or a larger-than-life personality. Any leader willing to learn and step out of their comfort zone can provide leadership motivation to their team.
So, what does it take for a leader to positively influence and motivate?
Shared values bring people together.
This doesn’t mean having the same set of values, but rather it means
taking the time to learn what is important to each member of your team will. Doing so will assist in positioning your role
and responsibilities in terms your co-workers can understand and appreciate.
Planning a team-building activity that promotes sharing and communication, like People Power, can create a fun opportunity to learn more about your team members’ values.
Providing strong leadership motivation to your team is based in having a vision
- a clear picture of what the future will look like.
Leaders must share that big-picture vision in a way that inspires others
to work toward that goal.
Sharing a clear and exciting vision is an important element of leadership
motivation, however many leaders make the mistake of keeping their vision
locked away in their mind. Great leaders make sure everyone understands the
vision. This keep everyone on the same
page and working better together.
The time you take to put your vision into words/images or videos will pay off greatly in your ability to positively influence people.
3. Trust and Integrity
Trust is created by consistently doing what you say you are going to do.
Honoring your commitments, as well as being consistent and reliable in the way
you treat others.
Great leaders consistently demonstrate to their co-workers that they are trustworthy. Trust and integrity is a fundamental characteristic of leadership motivation.
- Johann Wolfgang on Goethe
4. Motivational Style
Motivating your staff by fear or by the “carrot and stick” approach will never yield lasting results.
Exceptional leaders have one thing in common; their teams want to work hard and will go to great lengths for their leader – they are not forced.
How do they do it? Exceptional leaders have a multitude of styles, but they all appeal to their teams’ higher sense of purpose and desire to be a part of something larger than themselves, something great.
Extraordinary leaders continually engage and connect with their team. Most importantly, they understand the power of regular, clear and consistent communication.
One way to develop your leadership motivation style is to engage and connect with your team through activity. We have an entire section on team building activities that are field-tested and proven to be successful.
You can visit our Team Building Toolbox for a variety of ways to engage your team and create natural opportunities to connect and communicate.
Good planning is another key aspect of motivation in the workplace. Strong leaders have an ability to create a specific action plan - often by starting with the end in mind; envisioning the future and then working backwards.
Simply asking the question, "What needs to happen to
get us closer to the outcome we seek?" will reveal many of the steps that
need to be taken.
Creating an actionable plan with a timeline, anticipating
obstacles and developing contingency plans are all-important elements of
Planning and organization are learned skills and can become
second-nature over time.
There are many resources dedicated to planning and
organization skill-building, so don’t ever let your poor planning become
someone else's emergency (especially your boss); it is a sure-fire way to erode
your credibility as a leader.
"Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement."
- Alfred Adler
Execution is simply doing all the things you know you should do and doing them well and on time.
Consistently executing your role as the leader goes a long
way toward gaining the confidence and respect of your team. Execution is about
doing what you say you are going to do, or if you can't for some reason, by all
means take the time to explain why.
Leadership motivation is often centered in providing team members with opportunities to learn and grow. Exceptional leaders are always seeking out new ideas or leadership resources; books, speakers and conferences, etc. - all in the pursuit of continuous improvement.
Remember, it’s not a larger-than-life personality or
eloquent speaking skills that make an exceptional leader.
Keeping these seven leadership characteristics top of mind
and striving for continuous improvement is the key to providing true leadership
motivation for your team.
Never underestimate the importance of your role as the
leader to positively influence the people around you.