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8 Behaviors Successful Leaders Use to Motivate Staff

8 Behaviors Successful Leaders Use to Motivate Staff
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What makes a great leader in the workplace? Maybe you will be instinctively drawn to a leader because of their charisma, knowledge, and perseverance. But when you actually break it down, it is quite surprising to learn that great leaders are approachable, open, and great communicators. Here are 8 behaviours that we can all learn from those successful leaders.

1. Create an open and approachable environment

There are some managers and CEOs who place themselves on a pedestal and never really get to know their staff. They are living in a cloud of power and have little touch with reality in the workplace. They are obsessed with authority, prestige, and their position. They are rulers, rather than leaders.

But a real leader creates an open and approachable environment where staff are encouraged to say what they think of procedures, policies, and business objectives. There is a much better atmosphere and staff do not hesitate to approach the leader. The result is that there is a much greater sense of collaboration and a team spirit rather than a hierarchy based on fear, power, and privilege. Brian Tracy, Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International sums it up very neatly:

“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.”

2. Build confidence when the going gets tough

Leaders are expected to lead. In times of crisis, this can be the greatest test of a successful leader. They know how to mobilize the staff by staying calm and courageous. The open approach will pay handsome dividends here as staff will be fully aware of what the crisis is. They know what they will have to achieve in turning the company around and staying ahead of the game.

Steve Jobs as a business leader did not only turn Apple around after its stocks plummeted in 1996 but released new products such as the iPod and iPhone. It is an inspiring example of how a business leader was able to build confidence during a crisis.

3. Build employees’ self-esteem

Everyone craves praise when it is merited, of course! Leaders give praise and encouragement when it is due. They encourage people to let coworkers know about their achievements such as meeting a tough deadline or exceeding a sales target. Great leaders or managers know what people are striving to achieve and they will be the first to encourage and praise. Todd Mansfield who was vice president of Disney Development Company for 11 years realized that in time, as he explains here.

“When we’d sit down to evaluate associates, we’d spend 20% of our time talking about the things they did well and 80% on what needed to be improved. That is just not effective. We ought to spend and energy helping people determine what they are gifted at doing and then align their responsibilities with those capabilities.”- Todd Mansfield

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4. Empower and enable workers

Great leaders work hard to encourage a culture of inclusion at every level. In practice this means that innovation and skills development are strongly encouraged. One great way to empower employees is to keep them in the loop as to what is really happening at every level of your operations. These might include strategies for every contingency, emergency procedures and on-going skills training. The great advantage here is that this sense of empowerment makes them feel that they are a vital part of the company.

Doug Conant, CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, had to rescue the company from falling sales. His recipe for success was to prioritize employee engagement which had been judged as among the worst by Fortune 500. During his ten year stint in which he managed to turn the company around, employee engagement was consistently rated as among the best.

5. Ask questions and listen

Many managers talk loftily about their company’s mission statement and ethics. They talk about staff development and training. They sometimes fail to set the example by actually doing these things such as encouraging communication by asking questions and letting staff ask them. In fact they often talk far too much and do not listen nearly enough. This is why they rarely relate to others and inspire them. John C.Maxwell, the founder of Maximum Impact and an annual speaker at Fortune 500 companies often mentions this very important aspect of leadership:

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

6. Take risks

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, was recently interviewed on leadership. He said that one of the great ways to be an effective leader is to take risks. He gave an example of how he always goes for personality rather than formal qualifications, when hiring staff. Certainly there is a risk here. He also prefers to promote within the company rather than hiring outsiders. It sends a great message to staff and shows that hard work and dedication are actually rewarded. He is the author of The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership.

7. Be humble and learn from each other

Great leaders will always be on the lookout to learn from their staff and to share wisdom and experience. The leaders who lock themselves in their offices will never be exposed to new ideas. In addition, one of the four critical leadership qualities is humility, according to a Catalyst study which asked 1,500 workers from all around the globe. Humility is learning from criticism and being able to admit you were wrong. Lazlo Bock who is Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google explains what humility means in leadership:

“It is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, it’s intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.”

8. Be passionate about change

Great leaders do not shirk their duty when it comes to making changes which will mean challenges but also great rewards in the long run. If you are passionate about change, you can achieve great success. Indra Nooyi, CEO PepsiCo, is absolutely committed to taking the company in a healthier direction while achieving financial success. She has managed that while implementing a five year plan to cut costs by $5 billion:

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“Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”

Featured photo credit: Sir Richard Branson/ Jarle Naustvik via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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