There are variety of responsibilities that fall under a leaders purview but none perhaps more important than motivating the employees they work with.
Today’s post is by Mark Williams.
One of a leader’s most important responsibilities is to motivate and inspire employees — both to aspire to fulfill their true potential and to stretch themselves in the service of organizational goals. While a leader makes critical decisions every day that impact the bottom line, creating a culture where employees feel motivated and engaged is an equally weighty responsibility that is sometimes overlooked.
Motivating others is a tall task made shorter by focusing on five key methods — recognition, respect, motivation, professional development and empowerment.
I like to say that rewards and recognition are like religion — if you only practice your beliefs once or twice a year, they won’t influence your behavior. If you have regular and consistent ways of recognizing employees for a job well done, you will be much more effective at encouraging the behavior you need to achieve your organizational goals.
Not all rewards have to be monetary, either. There are plenty of very motivational ways to incent workers without tying recognition to compensation. I’ve done everything from spa days and birthday lunches to giving an employee a five-pound bag of gummy bears because I knew that’s what speaks most loudly of my appreciation for her work toward reducing expenses at our organization.
This approach to employee compensation requires personal attention, coordination and organization but it is well worth the extra effort.
No one likes to be micromanaged. No one enjoys being second-guessed. If you hire someone to do something and they pass the vetting process to employment at your organization, let them do their job. So often, managers get hung up on the process employees take to complete their work. Instead, focus on results.
Think of it like driving to the office. There may be eight routes you can take. Does it really matter which one an employee takes to get to work as long as they arrive on time? When you give your employees space to perform their work to their best judgement, you communicate trust and respect. That action will reap far better results than micromanaging employees to do things exactly the way you do them.
Every manager must understand what motivates their employees. The proper lever isn’t always money. It could be a third monitor or a rubber ball to sit on while working or a sit/stand desk. Sometimes the best motivators don’t cost managers much at all. The key is similar to the one that holds true for recognition; if you truly want to motivate your employees, get to know them well enough to know what motivates them individually, and then design rewards that speak to them personally.
When an employee wants to move on to another organization, the normal reaction from a manager is to become hurt or offended, but this is the wrong move to make. A manager’s job is to get their subordinates where they want to go. For some, that means another position within the four walls of your organization. For others, it means pursuing an opportunity your organization can’t offer.
A good manager helps his or her employees reach their full potential, wherever that may be. Instead of trying to hang on to your employees for the length of your career, focus on growing them beyond you.
Empowerment flows from the top down. It’s a feeling. People have to feel they have the ability to make decisions. Leaders must decide what the organization is willing to allow employees to do and what decisions they are going to trust them to make. Then, they must let employees work independently. Once they’re empowered, they must be allowed to call the shots within the parameters leaders have defined. By entrusting responsibilities to your employees, you enable them to achieve more than you could ever have accomplished for the business on your own.
A Final Word
No matter the size of your company, being a better leader begins with getting to know your employees personally so that you can motivate them appropriately to achieve goals and work in a way that grows your business year over year.
Mark Williams is currently the CEO of Brokers International and a thought leader in the financial and insurance sectors.
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