Whether you’re a junior-level employee or in senior management, chances are you’ve heard that being a good leader at work is key to inspiring and motivating people. But how exactly are leadership and motivation in the workplace connected? And more importantly, what do small-business owners and managers need to know about how leadership inspires motivation at work?
In this article, you’ll learn eight ways leadership inspires motivation at work to create an environment where employees feel both valued and willing to go the extra mile with you.
1. Leadership is the Link Between Values and Action
This is probably the most important way in which leadership and motivation in the workplace are linked. Think of leadership as the bridge between the organization’s values and its actions. A lot of people join companies based on the organization’s mission and values. Whether the organization is committing to sustainable practices or has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program in place, employees look to leaders to see that the company is serious about its values. When they can see that leaders and managers are delivering on company values, employees will be motivated to promote those values within the company.
2. Positive Leadership Increases Performance
The quickest way to make your team unproductive is with negative leadership styles. People feed off the mood of people around them, especially their leaders. That’s just human nature. On the other hand, leaders who consistently bring positivity to their teams are more likely to spread positivity among employees and improve morale and motivation.
By positive leadership, we don’t mean you should ignore organizational problems or an employees’ poor performance. Instead, the key is to develop a solution-based spin on employee performance and behavior. If an employee has a poor annual review, come up with a plan and solutions for them to improve for the next time. You’ll find that even struggling employees will be more motivated to do better.
3. Leadership is About Sharing the Vision
If employees are going to be fully on board with the company’s strategy and direction, they need to know exactly what plans and paths the company will be taking to achieve those goals. One vital role of a good leader is to communicate the company’s mission, vision, and strategy, so everyone understands how they fit into the bigger picture. People who know exactly how their contributions are valued are more likely to fully participate.
Everyone needs a sense of purpose. When employees understand the organization’s story — where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going — they’ll be more motivated to play a part in that story.
4. Leadership Prioritizes the Health of the Organization
One thing that leaders should constantly ask themselves is, “How is the team doing?” Not the company, but the people who are part of the company. This is how to accurately assess the health of the organization.
While not every employee issue is within your control to improve, you’d be surprised how much power leaders have to make lives better for employees. Something as simple as a wellness program can significantly improve employee morale and work-life balance. And while everyone wants a raise, remember that attractive benefits packages are important motivational factors for employees.
Not only will employees be in better spirits, but you might find that they’re taking less sick leave, too. In other words, if you take care of your employees now, they’ll take care of the company and its mission in the long term.
5. Leadership Opens Up Paths for Everyone
A healthy organization also provides people with growth opportunities and a path forward to advance within the company. When companies offer transparent opportunities for growth and personal development, employees can set clear goals for themselves. They know the performance measures they have to surpass to get that promotion. Or they know the skill set they need to move into a different role. All of this translates to employees with more motivation.
6. Leadership Builds Solid Relationships
In the end, everything we do is about relationships. It’s much easier for leaders and managers to build motivation when they have a solid relationship with employees. After all, how can you expect your employees to follow you if they don’t know what you want? In addition, when leaders have strong relationships with employees, they learn the best ways to mentor and lead each employee individually. There’s nothing more motivating than that.
7. People Trust Leaders Who Lead and Follow
Good leadership doesn’t mean constantly forcing your authority on your employees. On the contrary, leaders benefit and inspire motivation by showing their teams that they know how to be good followers and work within the group. When leaders are willing to delegate tasks and follow others’ lead, it shows they trust the team, which is an excellent way to motivate team members. Showing your trust in the team also makes it easier for the team to trust you. And if your employees trust you, you can be sure they’ll be motivated to go above and beyond what you ask of them.
8. Leadership Builds Trust Among Everyone
Effective leadership isn’t just about how employees see their managers. Good leaders inspire employees to be accountable to their teams and to each other. In other words, when there’s good leadership in place at work, employees are more motivated not just to perform well in front of you, but in front of all of their colleagues. When you put in the time and effort to be a good leader at work, you’ll notice signs of increased employee motivation all around, even when you’re not there to directly supervise.
Leadership and Motivation in the Workplace Go Together
There’s no question that leadership and workplace motivation are inseparable. People who work under exceptional leadership are more likely to feel good, spread positivity, commit to the organization’s strategy, and live the company’s culture and values. At Confie, we pride ourselves on prioritizing good leadership to keep our team happy, motivated, and productive. Learn more about Confie by contacting us or giving us a call at (714) 252-2500.