Nobody likes to lose good employees. So leaders everywhere have been trying to crack the code on the best methods of motivating and retaining their employees.

Let me share a little secret with you about human performance. To truly motivate and engage workers to perform at a high level, they have to have an emotional commitment to their bosses, their work, and their organizations. 

It's feelings and emotions that drive human behavior. This is the motivation problem every company on the planet should be trying to solve.

Your employees have to be emotionally excited enough about a company's goals and vision that make them want to jump out of bed in the morning.

They have to feel that they're psychologically safe, and that their companies are invested in their growth and career path.

You see, emotionally committed employees have a secret weapon that you won't find in workers merely going through the motions and putting in the minimum effort.

It's called discretionary effort.

It's performance that comes from the heart and you can't find it anywhere else. It's performance that goes the extra mile and exceeds all expectations.

Consequently, how leaders make people feel in their jobs will have the greatest impact on their performance. It starts and ends with good leadership.

9 questions that every leader must ask

To gauge an employee's commitment to his or her work begins with some honesty and self-reflection on a leader's part. Leaders can determine their capacity to help employees reach their highest potential by answering "yes" to the six questions below.

1. As a leader, do you listen to everyone in your organization and figure out ways to get your employees talking and sharing ideas?

2. As a leader, do you leverage everyone's strengths to achieve your team's goals?

3. As a leader, do you grant employees autonomy and let them take ownership of work outcomes?

4. As a leader, are you transparent and do you communicate everything you can to your people? In other words, do you keep your team up-to-date, let them know why decisions are being made, and how their work is helping to advance the bigger goals and vision? Do you communicate both bad news as well as good news? 

5. As a leader, do you give your best workers a lot of freedom to make mistakes, and don't second-guess them?

6. As a leader, do you take an active interest in others as people, and make everyone feel included?

7. As a leader, do you provide ongoing feedback and let people know how well they're doing?

8. As a leader, do you help others grow and learn new skills? Do you truly know your employees' personal and professional needs?

9. As a leader, do you make sure people know what their goals are and do everything possible to support, encourage, and coach them to accomplish those goals?

Your turn. What would you say is that one question above that requires immediate attention? Your employees will thank you.