“How do I motivate people to want to do a great job and perform at a high level?” It is a question that I am often asked from managers and leaders. It seems that figuring out what is needed to get people fully engaged and highly productive is elusive for many.
My answer generally is, “Find out what motivates your team member, and do that.” For some it may be public recognition; for another it may be a challenging special project; for someone else, an afternoon off to go to their child’s track meet. Motivation is a personal thing, and when leaders take a cookie-cutter approach to dealing with individuals on their team, or worst yet, assume that everyone is motivated by the same things he or she is, they miss opportunities to truly connect with their employees and help them to feel fully valued and engaged at work.
Beyond understanding individual motivations, creating a work environment that enables your employees to flourish is a key leadership skill. Here again, knowing what people are looking for from you as their leader makes it possible to provide those work elements and ultimately achieve the results you want. There are many views about what employees want from their leaders and managers – clear communications, trust, autonomy, respect, information sharing, etc. – skills and approaches, many of which leaders can gain through leadership development, feedback, and support of a mentor or executive coach. But as we note in our Three Faces of Leadership model, it’s not only how we lead others that makes us great leaders, it’s also how we lead ourselves – and people want that as well.
This quick video from Harvard Business Review offers another perspective on what people want from their leaders – and self-leadership is at the heart of it, demonstrating that who you are as a leader means more than what you do. Researchers interviewed hundreds of employees and identified four common threads in the responses about what people desire to truly connect with and engage in their work and leadership – Community – a leader who creates a sense of unity and team; Authenticity – a leader who is real and sincere; Significance – a leader who understands and values what his or her people bring to the table; and Excitement – a leader who you WANT to get behind.
How can you provide Community, Authenticity, Significance, and Excitement to your employees?
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For help in understanding what your people want, contact Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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