Effective leaders managing today's younger workers know this: Ordering them around is probably the best way to get the worst results out of them. While they may do what you want on a surface level, you'll never inspire them to intrinsically want to go above and beyond merely doing a job. That's according to strategic technology advisor and consultant Aaron Zwas, who says a few simple strategies can help any leader motivate people to do their best work.

1. Be a role model who always adds value.

Inspiring leaders actively look for ways to contribute to the overall success of an organization. "The best part of this approach to work is that it's contagious," he says. "The result is a group mindset that fosters the collective quality, innovation, and emotional well-being of the whole team."

2. Invest time in getting people onto the same page.

Even if your company is relatively flat, silos likely exist--even if it's critical knowledge and understanding trapped within the brain of one person. So, before embarking on any major endeavor or project, take the time to align understanding between key players, particularly when it comes to specific objectives and measurements of success. This investment will eliminate enormous amounts of wasted time and money down the road. "I've been involved in over 100 technology projects, and I never rush this initial alignment because I've seen first-hand how much waste and frustration can otherwise occur," he says.

3. Take time to explain why.

Millennials, in particular, hate taking orders and want to understand what decisions are being made and why. "When I take time to explain why their tasks are important to the big goal or why it's important to do the work a certain way, a person's posture changes from 'receiving directions' to 'being asked to contribute," he says. "Changing this perception requires much more time--instead of just firing off an email, for example--but the improvements in quality and commitment are well worth a few extra hours a week."

Published on: Apr 19, 2016