Want to spend your time in leadership activities that inspire motivation, trust, and certainty while dispelling employee fear, negativity, and skepticism? During times of change, no actions are more powerful than when leaders take the time to communicate and build relationships with their team.
When leadership shares vision, optimism, and purpose-driven goals, both motivation and commitment from employees is ensured. Jon Gordon, the author of "Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture," who participated in an earlier interview about managers and motivation, recommends these six leadership actions to inspire employee motivation.
Communicate Daily With Employees
Communication is a powerful tool that leadership can use to create an environment that brings forth employee motivation. Communication provides information, makes employees feel important and recognized, and provides the glue that binds a workforce with their leadership and their organization. Transparent communication of goals, financial results, and improving service to customers is imperative if you want employees to bring their hearts and spirit to work.
"Communicate with transparency, authenticity, and clarity. Whether you have a scheduled morning meeting each day, make office rounds in the afternoon, or take your team to lunch, make it a priority to make time to talk to each and every member of your team on a regular basis. You may be busy, but, the truth of the matter is that you really can't afford to not communicate frequently with your employees,” Gordon recommends.
Transfer Leadership’s Optimism
“As a leader, your most important weapon against pessimism (prevalent in recent years) is to transfer your optimism and vision to others. This inspires others to think and act in ways that drive results.
”Leadership is a transfer of belief—and great leaders inspire their teams to believe they can succeed. As a leader and manager, you are not just leading and managing people, but you are also leading and managing their beliefs. You must utilize every opportunity available to transfer your optimism,” Gordon says.
”From town hall meetings to daily emails to individual conversations to weekly teleconferences, it's imperative that you share your optimism with your team. Optimism is a competitive advantage, and you need to convey it in all you say and do. As one of the greatest American innovators, Henry Ford, said, ‘Think you can, or think you can't—either way you are correct.’”
Leadership Shares the Vision
Gordon recommends that to inspire employee motivation, leadership must, “Share the vision. It's not enough to just be optimistic. You must give your team and organization something to be optimistic about. Talk about where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.
"Share your plan for a brighter and better future, talk about the actions you must take, and constantly reiterate the reasons why you will be successful. Create a vision statement that inspires and rallies your team and organization."
Leadership Builds Relationships
“Relationships build real motivation. It's much easier to motivate someone if you know them and they know you and have built a level of trust. After all, if you don't take the time to get to know the people who are working for you, then how can you ever truly know the best way to lead, coach, and motivate them effectively? And, for that matter, how can you expect them to trust and follow you if they don't know you as well?”
"Relationships are the foundation upon which winning teams and organizations are built," says Gordon. "I advise managers to make their relationship with their employees their number one priority.
"In fact, I've worked with numerous NFL coaches and have seen firsthand how the most successful coaches and best motivators are those who develop meaningful relationships with their players. The same strategy that works on the playing field works in the office as well."
Leadership Creates Purpose-Driven Goals
Gordon recommends: “Create purpose-driven goals. When it comes down to it, the real force behind motivation has nothing to do with money or number-driven goals. Real employee motivation is driven by purpose and a desire to make a difference.
"In fact, people are most energized when they are using their strengths for a purpose beyond themselves. When employees feel as though the work they do is playing an integral role in the overall success of the company and the world, they are motivated to work harder.”
”Similarly, when they feel as though they are working for something more than just the bottom line, they feel good about the work they are doing. So as a leader, you will want to motivate your team by focusing less on number goals and more on purpose-driven goals," Gordon explains.
"It's not the numbers that drive your people but your people and purpose that drive the numbers. Sit down with each individual on your team and talk through their personal goals and how you see those goals fit into the bigger picture. Give them a sense of purpose that will fuel their fire towards taking action."
Leadership Nourishes the Team
These may seem like strange words to apply to the workplace. But Gordon insists they are spot-on. He says, “The main question that every employee in every organization wants to know is, ‘Do you care about me; can I trust you?’
"If your answer is yes, they will be more likely to stay on the bus and work with you. Employees who feel cared for, honored, and nourished are more engaged in what they're doing and will work at their highest potential.”
Think about it: Gallup's research shows that employees who think their managers care about them are more loyal and productive than those who do not think so. If you nourish your team and take the time to invest in them, they will pay you back in productivity, creativity, and loyalty. If your employees know that you care about them, they will want to do good work for you. It's the greatest motivator of all.”
"Remember this simple formula," Gordon concludes. "Belief plus action equals results. If you don't believe that something can happen, then you won't take the actions necessary to create it.
"If you believe that your team can do big things, they will believe it, too. And that belief will fuel the fires of action and provide you with the results you're looking for."
The Bottom Line
Nowhere are these six leadership actions more important than in today’s organizations. Leadership strives to draw forth the best that employees have to offer, their intrinsic motivation, and their discretionary energy. With the active role of your organization’s leadership in these six critical activities, motivation and commitment from employees are ensured.