The Secret of Great Leaders: How to Motivate Others
Great leaders know how to motivate others. Because you can only accomplish so much on your own, it's vital to learn how to work with and through others. A person who can motivate people to do their best enjoys a significant advantage. When you inspire others, you'll accomplish much more.
How to motivate people to do their best:
Be emotionally supportive. Remove the fear of failing or looking foolish. This is critical. Most people are paralyzed by fear, and would rather remain comfortable. When fear is greater than motivation, nothing happens. Removing fear can be just as effective as instilling additional motivation.
Ask what resources are required. Does your employee need additional help or funds to get a project off the ground? Figure out what resources are necessary for success, then do your best to provide them. If there are budget constraints, work with your team members to come up with creative options that will still lead to success.
Follow up regularly. Show you care, by checking on their progress. This does not mean you should micromanage your employees. Ask, then listen. Questions will help keep them on track.
Be publicly supportive. It’s one thing to support an employee in private, but being supportive in front of his or her co-workers shows you believe in their capabilities.
Acknowledge and reward. Acknowledge progress and effort regularly. Everyone needs a boost. Recognize efforts and achievements publicly, but handle discipline and reprimands in private.
Ask for ideas. You might hear some that are better than your own. People are easily excited about their own ideas, and using ideas from your team will create a sense of purpose and involvement.
Be clear. Vagueness breeds confusion and saps enthusiasm. When the objective and the necessary steps are clear, motivation is easier to generate. Be sure everyone is clear about their roles. As Brené Brown says, “Clear is kind!”
Set a good example. If it’s important to you, it will be important to your employees, spouse, or children. Don’t just tell them it’s important, show them by your behavior. Make the objective a priority in your own life.
Create a vision. Paint a picture of the end result in the minds of those involved. The grunt-work is seldom enjoyable, but it’s the end result that matters. Keep reminding everyone of how great things will be when it’s over. The work is the path to the endpoint.
Deal swiftly with dissenters. It only takes one dissenting, charismatic, employee to bring the whole project crashing down. There’s often one complainer who undermines the enthusiasm of everyone else. Don’t underestimate the damage this person can do. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with them, or move them out of the group. Motivation isn’t just about adding positive motivation. It’s also about removing the obstacles. Dissenters are obstacles. Encourage the sharing of opinions, but once a decision is made, expect cooperation.
Motivating others is a skill anyone can develop. You can only be as successful as your team. You can't do it all on your own.
Great leaders inspire others to become overachievers. It’s a challenging task, but if you’re good at motivating others, you’ll always be one of the most influential people around.