What does it mean to be a motivating leader? Do people only work efficiently when you are there to “hound” them? Does that really seem like the best way to engage employees or to be a motivating leader?
If you’ve ever walked into your office and found that everyone in the office quickly stopped talking and busied themselves with work, then your co-workers are not responding to your leadership. It’s hard to motivate people when they don’t follow a strong work ethic and slack off unless their leader is watching. Is it a matter of your presence that will engage others?
A good leader recognizes how to instill a work ethic in others, even when they aren’t there. When workers aren’t engaged in their job or their project, can you guess who gets blamed? Their leader.
Step 1 – Take a proactive approach
If you are struggling to get the best out of others, increase productivity and be a motivating leader, then you need a proactive program. Engaging employees is about finding what people respond to (on their own) and channeling that desire. Engagement also involves helping others to follow your example, your methodology and your approach so that they learn to engage on their own. Especially in tough economic times, motivating leaders are needed to make people WANT to succeed (again, on their own) and with a plan to recognize others for their hard work.
Step 2 – Reaffirm the value of others
Sometimes for a motivating leader, it’s simply a matter of reaffirming the value of others, whether they are co-workers, employees, volunteers or anyone in your organization. People NEED positive reinforcement and respond in kind to affirmation of their job – tell them what they do well and why they are doing well. Motivating with only a whip and chain is often a bad choice for your leadership in bad times – you end up losing your best people when you need them most. Leaders have struggled in this area for years. Make it a habit to learn affirming motivation – don’t be discouraged if you have trouble – focus on improving your skills as a motivating leader!
Step 3 – Nurture a team environment.
Don’t only be concerned about “production”. Your main focus should be on the people – that is what makes a motivating leader excel. If you only focus on the results instead of the method and the people behind the method, then chances are those people will not produce. People want to be valued individually and as a team – not just on the results they produce. Motivating leaders need to properly care about their people’s well-being, caring for more than simply bottom-line results. Make people part of your team, part of your success, and the success of individuals as people-producers.
Many leaders mistakenly believe it’s not their job to nurture their people. They see nurturing as something done at home with a family; that is not how a motivating leader should ever think! When people feel genuinely cared for and respected, then your leadership is engaging them to increase productivity. Being a motivating and engaged leader means assessing what your people need to stay healthy and productive.
Step 4 – Consider counseling troubled followers.
Some people only want to work with other people who care about them. They refuse to respond to someone unless they feel a relationship of reciprocal care and respect. As a motivating engaged leader, you must consider providing counseling or pastoral care to people as a means to inspire their productivity. Leaders find there is a direct correlation between health and welfare of followers and the organization where they belong.
Find methods to council those who are in desperate need instead of discarding them and you’ll find that most people will respect the care and attention you give. People care about other people, so give them a reason to see that you care and they will be motivated to work for you and your organization.
Step 5 – Encourage personal growth.
An effective leader realizes the importance of internal growth for their skills and for their followers and employees. May leaders find it difficult to understand some one’s personal growth as they can’t see it themselves. Leaders see the value that enabling personal skills results in personal happiness, improved demeanor, and a want to accomplish tasks.
To get your leadership in this area off the ground, have your people write down the following thoughts:
- Their personal priorities, desires, wants, and what is important to them
- Their goals, dreams, and vision for their own future (not necessarily work-related)
- The areas that they see where a leader such as yourself can help them in meeting their personal goals.
Where do they need help in achieving their own success? Let your followers find a voice and you can use your motivating leader voice in return to give them guidance and support to achieve at least one of their goals. By offering training and development in areas to improve personal growth, you will increase their effectiveness.
For example, one of your people is always late, and they relay it’s because of family issues. They write down family as a personal priority, and a personal goal of being on time for their family (and at work). You can help them achieve this goal by enrolling her in a time management course. Engaged leaders provide a solution to the problems of their followers from a personal angle. That gets huge appreciation!
Step 6 – Empower others.
Do you know a leader who always looks over the shoulder of others as they do their work? Are they stamping a foot to get things done on time? That is not a trait of a motivating leader! What are you teaching someone by hovering over their work instead of letting them reach their own end (good or bad)? Leaders must guide instead of force as that is the only way for people to learn individuality.
The old adage, “give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for life”, is totally true for a motivating leader! The best people in life are trained and guided before making their own decisions; in this way they are empowered to make good decisions. Even if they make bad decisions, they can learn from their mistakes on their own. They are motivated to succeed for themselves.
Trusting people that report to you means being a motivating and engaged leader who lets others take on responsibilities to see if they can handle it themselves. People who take on more responsibility often take on more ownership over what they create and produce. Engaged leaders don’t micromanage – they provide proper training and then trust others to use it.
Start being a motivator instead of a worrier; become a leader who acts instead of responds; take it upon yourself to grow as a motivating and engaged leader who takes command and helps people. These are basic but essential strategies and skills to use every day. It’s up to you, to start being proactive, to help others be productive. Remember that motivation or engagement is a method that starts at the top and comes down through words, actions and caring about others.