As a manager or supervisor, chances are that you already understand that inspiring leadership and motivation in the workplace is key to running a successful and thriving business. But what is it exactly that makes a great leader?
There are countless books, speeches, and articles that go deep into the characteristics of great leaders and there are many great leadership qualities. Three common traits that we’ll discuss today are decisiveness, curiosity, and accountability.
1. Great Leaders Are Decisive
Whether it’s setting goals for the year or finalizing the shift schedule, great leaders know how to be decisive. There are three parts to being decisive:
- Choosing a plan or course of action
- Communicating and following through on the plan
- Revisiting the assumptions and goals of the plan
It’s sometimes easy to put off making a decision until you have more information. Be realistic about how much new information will help you. If it’s not critical, then you can probably make a decision now.
Once you do decide on something, inform those people who will find themselves affected by your decision. Even the best decisions won’t get far if there’s no communication.
Finally, always stay aware of the assumptions and goals of your decision. Is there new information that changes your assumptions? Do you need to revise your goals based on a new market opportunity? Be curious about everything that affects your company, and don’t be afraid to change a decision when it no longer makes sense.
2. Great Leaders Are Curious
On the one hand, good workplace leaders need to act decisively based on the information in front of them. On the other hand, it’s often the case that new information can change the logic and reasoning behind a decision. That’s why it’s so important to stay curious.
Curious leaders are successful leaders. Today’s leaders must learn constantly. With technology and business practices changing every day, company owners and managers can’t afford to be behind when it comes to the latest cost-saving innovations. Curious leaders are more likely to recognize and admit their mistakes, which is an important part of showing accountability (more on that below).
Finally, curious leaders are more likely to promote a positive workplace culture that values inquisitive employees and healthy debate. When everyone is a part of the innovation process, companies become more agile and more likely to survive even a major industry disruption.
To inspire leadership and motivation in the workplace, ask more questions and be prepared to listen to what your employees have to say. They understand the daily work involved in operating the company, and chances are that they’ll have some insightful information to help you make better decisions for a successful endeavor.
3. Great Leaders Are Accountable
Leaders have no problem telling employees that nobody is perfect, but they often forget to take their own advice. Leaders make mistakes too, and great leaders aren’t afraid to say hard things like, “I was wrong,” or “I don’t know.”
Being an accountable leader doesn’t mean sharing every single doubt or bad decision. It means that you’re taking responsibility for your actions that affect the company and your employees.
Here’s how to show accountability as a leader:
- Admit that you don’t know something or that you made a mistake.
- “I made a bad decision about revising the employee benefits package.”
- “I don’t yet know how the merger will affect available job positions.”
- Show that you understand how this is affecting the team.
- “I didn’t realize how much of a financial hardship the new health plan would be to some of our employees.”
- “I understand that you all want some certainty about your future with the new company.”
- Have an action plan to resolve the issue.
- “I’ll be contacting the BPO company this week to talk about better options.”
- “I’ll bring up employment numbers at the next meeting with our merger company.”
- Manage expectations and ask for help as needed.
- “Unfortunately, the company can’t afford to go back to the old health plan. I’d be happy to work with you all to find a better plan that fits the company budget.”
- “We’re in the middle of an urgent due diligence issue right now, and that might take priority for the next few weeks.”
Being an accountable leader is much easier than it seems. In fact, it’s a lack of accountability that will get you in trouble. Employees who work in a culture of “the boss is always right” are more likely to be burnt out and less motivated, especially if they feel like they’re being unfairly blamed or targeted for their boss’s mistakes. After all, what’s the point of doing a better job if you’re going to be blamed for anything that goes wrong? And why bother with extra training and skill development if you feel like your manager won’t value your new contributions?
In short, showing accountability can mean the difference between a strong, loyal team and a team that suffers from low motivation, zero growth, and high turnover.
Behind Every Great Company are Great Leaders
At Confie, being a great leader in the workplace is a lifelong pursuit. It takes time, patience, and commitment to your company and employees. At Confie, we believe in putting people first. To learn more about us, get in touch with us today or give us a call at (714) 252-2500.