It has long been a popular saying that “A company is only as good as its leadership,” and that statement applies more today than ever. Over the years, successful leaders have developed styles that have changed and evolved to be more concerned with positive motivation of employees than with controlling and/or commanding them. While autocratic leadership still exists, it typically does not create an atmosphere that encourages employees to be involved or care about more than their next pay cheque.
What is your leadership style? Are you a leader who believes in the people you hire and gives them respect and opportunities to excel in what they do and the freedom to change and improve your company and the environment in which they work? Or are you still caught in the autocratic mindset in which your way is the only way?
The good news is that no matter what your current style of leadership may be, you can learn a leadership style and habits that will create a team environment which will generate motivation, action and improvement in every facet of your organisation. Good leaders are formed from people who are continually willing to learn, not only from their own experience but from the experiences of other leaders as well as from the comments, ideas and experiences of their own staff members. A good leader is one who understands the importance of individual motivation for every member of an organisation because it is the drive, enthusiasm and action (or lack of it) of each person in your business that will contribute to the overall level of success (or failure) of your company.
The most important characteristic that is needed for a company to be successful in any financial environment, but especially in one with a weak economy, is to have every member of the business behind the visions and goals of the organisation. To do that, a business needs to be built on the concept of collaboration where every employee is involved and excited about the accomplishments and benefits of the entire company.
An environment of collaboration has to start from the top with a leader who is open to creativity and hires and encourages employees who are self- motivated and thrive on independence and challenges. A leader who wants to control will unwittingly attract and hire employees who want and need to be told exactly what to do and when to do it. People who are independent and creative will either wither in that type of environment or move on to a company that offers an atmosphere in which they can thrive.
Develop the Qualities of a Motivational Leader
Being a leader who creates motivation within everyone in your company will require certain actions, behaviours and characteristics on your part. A motivational leader is one who gains the respect and admiration of their staff members because of the way he or she interacts with them on a daily basis as well as their overall approach to business and life in general.
There are certain actions and characteristics of a leader that have been shown to positively impact and motivate their team members.
Have a Clear Vision
– As a motivational leader you will need to be very clear within your own mind as to the purpose and vision of the company. And it needs to be about more than making money, because while every employee or team member wants to be well compensated for their skills, talents and abilities, it is an overall vision of how they are contributing to something bigger that typically inspires action and dedication. As a motivational leader you must carry your vision through with actions and decisions.
– Having a vision or goal is not enough to be a motivational leader. You must also demonstrate your commitment to achieving that goal by supporting, encouraging and empowering everyone in your organisation in the process of achieving the vision.
– Exhibit your ability to make decisions without hesitation, showing your confidence in yourself, your company and your employees. And be willing to readily admit mistakes and be forgiving with yourself and others.
Take a Team Approach
– A leader who has an attitude of “I could do this better all by myself” will usually end up having to do it all by themselves. But a leader who believes that it takes everyone involved to be successful will create a team environment and attitude that lends itself well to self-motivation and action.
– A leader who rants and raves will not inspire their staff members to want to give the best of their talents and skills but will instead instil a sense of “why bother” in their employees. Remember, a leader who exhibits self-control is one worth respecting and emulating.
Understand Your Impact
– Motivational leaders also understand the impact that their choices and behaviours have on their team members. When employees feel encouraged, empowered and supported, they typically exhibit self-motivation, a desire for achievement and a team spirit that reflects the primary goals and visions of the organisation.
– When you notice an individual or a team performance that excels and moves toward accomplishing your company’s goals, provide positive feedback and reinforcement as well as recognition and awards. People appreciate being appreciated and the more appreciation and recognition that an organisation gives, the more its employees will want to be on the receiving end of those behaviours. As the business owner, you set the pace and the example of whether or not your team members are recognized for their contributions or just expected to perform as a part of their jobs.
Communicate Clearly and Openly
– Don’t assume that the people in your organisation understand your vision and your ideas—communicate them in an open, honest and ongoing format that will help everyone stay on track with the overall goal. And remember, communication goes two ways, so be an active listener and show interest in the thoughts and ideas of your team members. Ask for their thoughts and input. People who are listened to feel appreciated and people who feel appreciated feel motivated.
– Develop an attitude that shows that you trust people to do the right thing because more often than not, people will fill the expectations of those in charge. If your organisation’s leadership expects that your staff members will make the right decisions and choices and you give them the freedom to do so, they will. And while the choices they make may not be exactly what you would have chosen to do, trust that the decisions they make will still be positive ones. The more people are respected and trusted, the more they rise to those expectations.
Be Open to Creativity and New Ideas
– You had a great idea and that’s why you created a company, but visions and goals need to grow and expand in order to prosper and continue to succeed. A motivational leader is one who is open to letting that happen from the input, creativity and ideas of people within the company. Employees who are allowed to put their own ideas into a vision, goal, product or service are ones who will continue to be motivated and excited about what they do.
Know What Motivates Your Employees and Provide That Environment
– Different types of businesses attract and require different types of personalities. As a motivational leader, you need to understand the types of personalities within your organisation and what inspires and motivates them. Some employees work from a logical perspective and do best within an environment that is orderly and managed. Other team members are creative and work more from the right side of the brain where interaction, ideas and change are the embers that fuel them into action. Know what type of environment is best for your team members and help create it. Some organisations have a blend of personalities and thus a need to create spaces in which they can all thrive and grow. The most crucial part of this aspect of a motivational leader is understanding the importance of creating and supporting a work atmosphere that positively impacts and motivates the people you depend on to help you manage and grow your business.
Remember, being a leader who motivates is not about what you do to others but how you inspire them to take action, move, create and accomplish. And that is done by being a leader who creates and supports an environment that encourages self-motivation.
Paul Davis FCMA CMC
Davis Business Consultants
Business Growth Specialist