You are an amazing manager.
You and your team have a reputation for getting things done, you’re experts in your area and people look forward to having meetings with you.
You don’t set out a plan to lead, but people choose to follow you.
Your staff are all loyal, they work hard and they have fun, they laugh a lot and include you without thinking about it.
Is this the boss you already are, or the leader you’d like to be?
If you are getting the best out of your team, skip this post.
If you’re not quite there yet, here are a few things to think about.
Carrots and sticks are old hat
For years we thought the best way to motivate people was by offering them something extra or scaring them into working harder.
While that may work when you are training your dog, it doesn’t cut it with your team.
Research shows that the things that motivate us are much more intrinsic.
We want to feel challenged, we want to learn and we want to be acknowledged for our contribution to the bigger picture.
Watch this entertaining Ted Talk by Dan Pink on the science behind what really motivates us.
His research reflects these areas:
Tell me how important my job is to the company
Dan’s research shows everyone wants to understand where they fit in the puzzle.
As a manager, this is your chance to shine. Share your vision for the department with your team. Explain how it’s fundamental to the company. Help your staff understand how their job helps move the business forward and why they are important to success.
You are the one leading this parade, take the chance to hold up your baton and get them all marching in the same direction.
Challenged is not the same as overworked
Dan tells us people need to feel challenged to be motivated at work.
Challenged is the chance to do something new, interesting, something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Challenge comes with the autonomy to do things your way and make your own decisions.
Your challenge, as an inspiring leader, is to make sure each person on your team has that chance.
Learning doesn’t just happen in a classroom
Dan also says learning is crucial to motivation. That doesn’t have to be formal. Think of the expertise you’ve got on in your team and how to spread that knowledge in ripples.
Ask people to help you find speakers, offer to let them shadow another role or research things that would interest your group.
Be generous with your own knowledge, share what you know. There is inspiration in letting people peek behind the curtain and see where you’ve struggled, what you’ve learned from your mistakes and how they can take courage in their own development.
The final step is finding a style that suits you
If you find it easy to pick up the pompoms and encourage your team forward, use that. You can lead from the front, the middle or the back.
If it’s easier for you to work one to one, inspiring people with individual attention that will be equally effective.
Some leaders find they can create a swell of emotion and get everyone enthusiastic about the vision of success.
If pulling heartstrings isn’t your style, use a rational approach. Motive your team by sharing your technical skills, outlining real things for them to strive toward or setting guidelines to encourage them.
Whether it’s a song and dance or a pragmatic approach – use your own style to motivate your team, it will come more easily and they’ll know it’s authentic.
What inspiring leadership does for you…
You’ll have an easy staff to manage, They’ll all be working hard because they enjoy their jobs. You won’t have to push, people will volunteer.
And your value to the company goes up, because everyone that works for you will be inspired to do their best work.