Motivational Leadership: Knowing Your Employees

A successful organization needs both good leaders and good followers. One cannot succeed without the other. It’s important for every company to focus on getting the right leader and leadership style in place for the culture they represent, so what can you do to align your business with the right leaders and followers?

Motivational Leader, or Just “The Boss”?
Most of us know what it feels like to work for a “boss” who merely issues orders and expects unquestioning obedience. That management style may have worked in the past, but it just doesn’t cut it in today’s workplace. Requiring blind obedience of your employees completely misses the point of leadership and stifles creativity. This type of leader will not make an organization great, and will not attract and keep great employees.

To achieve success, business owners, supervisors, and managers alike must be motivational leaders so that employees are inspired to strive for common goals instead of simply acting on orders.

Characteristics of Motivational Leaders

Motivational leaders have certain traits which propel them to choose (and succeed in) leadership roles. Here are some characteristics:

  • Vision and communication: The ability to define and communicate the vision, goals, and values of the organization is imperative to leadership. Most followers can only see their own piece of the puzzle, so the leader must supply the overall vision.
  • Responsibility: Leaders need to be self-motivators, otherwise, they can’t inspire others. The leader must be willing to take responsibility for personal mistakes as well as group outcomes. The courage to take risks and push beyond comfort zones is a hallmark of motivational leadership.
  • Honesty, integrity, and good manners: Leaders cannot expect to maintain trust among team members unless they themselves are truthful and authentic. A leader sets the standard for the good behavior that he or she expects from employees. 
  • Ability to delegate: Leaders identify and harness the strengths of team members to maximize group potential. They understand the needs of individuals and show them how important their roles are in the overall picture. 
  • Confidence, positive attitude, and a sense of humor: Regardless of the situation, a leader displays confidence and a positive attitude. Showing fear or negativity makes followers uncertain about the path forward, and morale suffers. A sense of humor helps employees get through rough times.
  • Commitment: A leader shows commitment by being willing to do “dirty work” if necessary, otherwise, the group may feel that the leader is too arrogant to come down to their level.
  • Realism: It takes creativity to see situations in multiple ways and find solutions. A successful leader sees the world as it really is and understands human nature so that when problems arise, they are addressed in a creative yet rational manner.
Some People Prefer Following vs. Leading
Leadership is usually selfless, challenging, and humbling. Making decisions is difficult, especially when it affects other people’s lives. Some simply prefer not to put themselves in the spotlight or to take on that level of responsibility.

Followers are critical to success and should not be confused with mindless sheep. Some followers are much smarter than their leaders, they just have different talents to share. In fact, being a good follower is as essential as being a good leader and society would never survive if everyone wanted to be a leader. A good leader recognizes the value of followers and respects the talents they bring to the organization.

Development of Motivational Leaders
Help your leaders reach their full potential with training and development programs to increase their skills to benefit your entire organization. Call us to talk.
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