I've had my fair share of bosses throughout my career. In the corporate world, they were mostly conditioned to manage by fear, which was a product of the toxic company cultures that existed.
Their go to motivational tactic was to constantly threaten people with their jobs. It's no coincidence that the turnover rate at these companies was astronomical. A high turnover rate is costly and demoralizing to the team.
From my experience, truly great leaders are very rare. When I come across one, I try to learn as much from them as possible, so that I can incorporate their actions into my own leadership style.
Inspirational leaders can motivate their teams without managing by fear because their people love them and they don't want to let them down.
Here are seven actions that inspirational leaders take to motivate their teams to greatness.
1) Be Supportive
A good manager gives his/her employees the tools they need to be successful. A bad manager assigns tasks with little or no direction and then becomes upset when the employee doesn't meet the expectation. Be approachable so your employees feel they can ask questions.
2) Understand and Harness the Power of Praise
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective tools for a person in a leadership role. One of the biggest complaints from people that hate their jobs is they never receive any credit for a job well done. If you want your employees to like working for you and to perform their best, try giving them some praise every once in a while when they do well.
Nobody likes to work in a thankless environment.
3) Lead By Example
If you want your employees to take you seriously you must lead by example. If they question your work ethic, integrity, or skill to get the job done, then they are far less likely to do their best work themselves. As a leader, you need to be blazing the path for success. As a manager, think about the example you set when you come in late and leave early.
4) Be Social
Too many companies have cut out the Christmas party. Even if you don't do a Christmas party, you should put on some events throughout the year to show appreciation and increase morale. If there are budgetary concerns just do something simple.
Allowing your team to get to know you a bit outside the office creates a stronger bond with your employees. Nobody likes working for a manager that hides in their office all day and the only interaction is via email.
5) Listen To Your Employees
Make sure your employees' voices are heard. In order to foster an environment of innovation, management must be open to their employees' ideas. Nothing stifles progress more than shooting down your employees every idea. Pretty soon they will not even offer them. This will lead to stagnation within your company.
Also, consider distributing an anonymous employee satisfaction survey.
This will measure the temperature of your employees. If there are action items that need to be addressed they can be identified and action can be taken to improve the work environment.
Companies that don't survey their employees are running the risk of never knowing what the problems are within the company. Thus, they have no way of fixing them.
6) Be Generous
Studies show that companies that offer incentives for longevity have a greater retention rate. Whether it is a raise, bonus, additional time off, a better title, or a combination of the aforementioned, incentives for long tenure should be a part of your employee retention strategy.
7) Manage With Authority Not Fear
Just like in my previous article when I discussed how nobody likes a micro-managing jerk, they don't like a wimpy pushover for a boss either. You can be authoritative; and, still go about it with integrity and respect. Your employees need to know that there is someone very competent at the helm.
"Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase it, we can catch excellence." Vince Lombardi