A leader on paper does not mean much. A title sounds impressive, but it is not much more than an identification tag if a leader lacks certain skills. This person must be able to persuade a team of employees to put forth the effort. In some cases, this could mean a lot of productivity is expected, and a good leader must produce the results.
Fortunately, this is not impossible to do. A good leader has some motivational skills which can move subordinates forward. Motivational expertise comes from understanding the people reporting to him or her. Millennials want to have their abilities used and wish to do work that is both challenging and meaningful. Very few are willing just sit in a cubicle and push paper.
Challenging work is going to encourage an employee to put forth maximum effort. What is critical is for a leader to recognize an employee’s skills and can use them.
Feedback is Important
A leader cannot inspire anybody by staying behind an office door. There are too many managers who will not provide adequate feedback except during the annual performance review. There is more to motivating employees than that.
A good leader is going to provide feedback on a routine basis. It does not always have to be a formal session. Setting up informal meetings with a subordinate allows that person to know how he or she is doing. The feedback session also allows for coaching to be done, as well as pointing out some areas of improvement.
Part of feedback can be recognition for work well done. It doesn’t have to be a major award, but small things such as certificates or letters of appreciation can do an awful lot to boost the morale of associates. These little tokens let people know that their work is important and is being noticed. That notice by itself can inspire a person to work a little bit harder.
Confusion is an enemy of efficiency and can slow down productive work. A leader can motivate by setting goals and objectives that are easy to understand. It helps to have benchmarks created as well so that people know what must be accomplished by a given time. A leader can also establish a system of rewards for achieving various goals. On the other hand, consequences may also have to be defined to keep people moving forward.
Think About Job Enrichment and Enlargement
Peter Herzberg discovered in his research that job enrichment is crucial to high motivation. A position can be enriched through any number of means, and a leader should take every opportunity to make the job more fulfilling. This can be training opportunities or assignments that broadened the person’s understanding. It is possible to add a few responsibilities to cultivate an employee further, but caution must be taken. Some people will do well with more work, but others may feel intimidated. A good leader will know if a person is being asked to do too much.
Lead by Example
This is sometimes easier said than done. Books on management science will stress the importance of leading by example as opposed to a directive. Unfortunately, not every person in management position understands what is meant by this. Here are some examples of leading by example:
- Listen. Communication is imperative within a team, but listening is one of the skills that is needed. A leader who listens encourages the rest of the staff to do the same thing.
- Be Visible. Employees will look to a leader to better understand the right behavior. A leader who is visible on the floor does not have a sense of mystery. There is transparency in that person’s behavior which is readily understood by others.
- Be Enthusiastic. It is contagious and is one of the best motivators. A leader can inspire staff by being confident about the work in progress, and looking forward to meeting goals and objectives.
- Put the People First. No matter what the corporate aims and purposes are, subordinates are the most important part of achieving them. Whatever a leader can do to make the job less stressful will be deeply appreciated by those who follow his or her direction.
It is not that difficult to motivate good employees. A leader does have to be conscious of the need to do it, however. It is a daily activity which should not be ignored. An energetic workforce can move mountains. Proper motivation is the spark that can keep the engine moving. An effective leader is one who can encourage people to do a little bit more than the ordinary.