If you’re researching how to motivate others as a leader, congratulations! The first step to being a great leader is always being open to improvement and seeking out opportunities to better yourself. We don’t claim to have all the answers (and you should seriously question anyone who does), but here at iProv, we have invested hundreds of hours of research, testing, surveying, and good old-fashioned trial and error in order to learn how we can better motivate and invest in our employees as a leadership team.
Investing in the development of motivational skills for leadership and learning how to motivate others in the workplace can make a huge difference in your company’s efficiency, profitability, and overall culture. Let us tell you about some of the lessons we’ve learned about motivating and leading teams, as well as how leaders can motivate employees without stepping over boundaries. And because we never want you to have to learn the hard way, we’ll share a few of our top “don’ts” as well!
How to Motivate Others as a Leader
A Workforce survey of employees across the globe in 2020 found that more than 55% of high-performing employees are “somewhat, quite, or very likely to leave their jobs” in the next six months. Only 30% of employees in America indicated that they were “satisfied” with their jobs in the first place. That means that it is highly likely that at least one of the top performers in your company is dissatisfied and actively considering leaving your company. Even if they’re not actively job-hunting, dissatisfied employees are rarely working to the best of their abilities.
The only way that we as leaders can prevent this disruptive turnover and/or dissatisfaction is to invest time in listening to our employees and then implement meaningful solutions based on that feedback. But how can you motivate your leadership team as well as your employees to work toward the greater good? We’re so glad you asked!
DO Provide Vision and Purpose
There is nothing more demotivating than feeling like your job is pointless. As a leader, it is your job to provide an inspiring vision of the future that gives your team something to look forward to and work toward. But remember that “pie in the sky” daydreaming isn’t enough. Your vision needs to be attainable and realistic in order to be truly motivating.
DON’T Undervalue Labor
It’s almost hardwired into our country’s working culture to see some positions as “unskilled labor.” But the truth is, there is no such thing as an unskilled employee. If we took the CEO of your company and dropped them off at the distribution center, we guarantee that he or she would make a giant mess of the labeling, slow down the assembly line, and deeply annoy all of the managers with their ineptitude.
Every job has value, or you wouldn’t have created the position. So work on listening to the concerns and issues of every department and recognizing and rewarding a diverse array of skills and contributions.
You can reduce costly turnover, which is common among entry-level or “lower-level” positions, by instilling the vision across the board. Ted isn’t just slapping labels on boxes—he’s ensuring that medical supplies are getting to someone who needs them as quickly as possible in the most efficient manner. When you frame someone’s career in terms of the vision rather than their job description, you instill a sense of purpose that is very motivating.
DO Be Transparent and Own Up to Your Mistakes
Your employees are not stupid. It’s easy to assume that keeping major issues or failures a secret will keep the company morale up—and it’s natural to want your employees to think the best of you. But the truth is that a lack of transparency and accountability from leadership causes an air of unease, distrust, and indignation in your company.
When you are upfront about problems and issues, you are controlling the narrative. When you hide the issues until they are inevitably discovered, you have no control over how your employees will receive and process the information.
Still not convinced that honesty is the best policy? Think about the last time you were lied to. Did you like that? Did you trust that person in the same way afterward? Did you feel stupid and angry and unimportant? Did you wish they had just had an open conversation with you instead of assuming that you weren’t capable of understanding?
Apply that same logic to your employees and, even though it’s stressful and makes your stomach hurt (we know you’re just human, boss man and boss lady!), strive for transparency by being open and honest with your employees and asking for help and solutions. They’re a part of this company, and most likely they are intrinsically motivated to help you keep it afloat if you would only invite them.
DON’T Lose Your Temper
This is not the 90s. It is not cool to be that jerk boss who screams at everyone and uses fear as a way to get the results they want.
We get it. Life is hard and you’re just one person. You have stresses and demands and lives to deal with outside of work just like your employees. But as a leader, it is your responsibility not just to set an example but to hold yourself to your own standards.
To risk quoting Spiderman in a serious article about leadership—“With great power comes great responsibility.” When you are a leader in a business, you are in a position of power and privilege. You have decision-making power, the authority to assign work and create job roles, and the power to hire and fire people from those roles.
Whether you like to admit it or not (we see you “fun boss”), you are a part of a hierarchical power structure. When you lose your temper with your peers, that’s unfortunate. When you lose your temper with your employees, that’s an abuse of power. It’s an abuse of power because they have no room to fight back without fear of repercussions.
So take a deep breath, excuse yourself to scream into your blazer in the bathroom, or take a second to cool down before you answer that email. You cannot unsay something once it’s out there, and one blow-up can ruin your credibility as a caring and stable leader forever. How can they trust you to control the workings of a company when you can’t control yourself?
If you have questions about how to motivate others as a leader, or you’re interested in scheduling an exploratory meeting about how your company can improve motivation, contact iProv today. We would love to schedule a time to sit down and help you pinpoint the opportunities for improvement in your organization.