How to Motivate Others as a Leader

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Motivating others is a key skill for any leader. When you can motivate your team, you can get them to work together and encourage employees toward a common goal. Motivating others as a leader is crucial. Motivating others has a huge impact on employee engagement, a pivotal factor in any organization’s success.

When leaders excel in motivating their teams, they foster a culture of engagement, driving up productivity, job satisfaction, and retention.

Leaders who are good at motivating others are better equipped to retain their talented team members. This leads to stability and continuity within the organization, as motivated employees are more likely to stay committed to their roles. In essence, the ability to motivate others as a leader is the key asset for creating a dynamic, engaged, and loyal workforce, which in turn contributes significantly to an organization’s growth and prosperity. Not only that, motivated employees are happier and healthier employees.

Not only that, but happy workers are 13% more productive. This is backed by extensive research at BT’s contact centers by Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), George Ward (MIT), and Clement Bellet (Erasmus University Rotterdam), who unveiled a significant discovery over their 6 month period study. Basically, it means that motivation creates a positive attitude, which in turn generates more productivity.

Why Should You Know How to Motivate Others as a Leader?

Motivated employees are more productive, engaged, and satisfied with their work. They are also more likely to stay with the company. Understanding how to motivate others as a leader has a significant impact for several reasons.

Firstly, it significantly impacts productivity.

Companies like Google have increased their investment in employee support, resulting in a 37% boost in employee satisfaction. This shows that improving employee happiness pays off significantly in the workplace

As mentioned before, motivation plays a pivotal role in employee retention. When leaders can inspire and engage their teams, employees are more likely to stay committed to their roles and the organization as a whole.

Additionally, the ability to motivate others goes hand in hand with leadership effectiveness. Great leaders not only drive results but also create a sense of purpose and empowerment among their team members, ultimately leading to improved business outcomes.

In essence, knowing how to motivate others is not just a leadership skill; it’s a key driver of success in the modern workplace.

When employees are motivated, they are more likely to:

  • Go the extra mile
  • Take initiative
  • Be creative and have innovative ideas
  • Solve problems
  • Work well with others
  • Stay positive and engaged

5 Ways to Motivate Others as a Leader

There are many ways you can tackle employee motivation as a leader. However, some are more efficient than others. The 5 best ways and effective leader can use to motivate others are:

  • Define clear goals and tasks
  • Give positive feedback
  • Give Rewards and Recognition
  • Create a Motivating Work Environment
  • Create an Actionable Motivation Plan

#1 Define clear goals and tasks

When team members are unsure about what is expected of them, it can lead to confusion, decreased motivation, and lower productivity. By setting clear objectives and outlining tasks explicitly, an effective leader provides their team with a sense of direction and purpose. This clarity helps employees understand what needs to be achieved, boosting their motivation to work towards those common goals.

Setting clear goals and expectations is fundamental for the whole team, ultimately contributing to improved performance and better business results.

#2 Give positive feedback

Here’s the secret to feedback and how it actually ties back to motivation. Positive feedback is a key resource that any good leader should use. But for feedback to be actually effective, it has to happen often and based on the foundation of a strong relationship.

Best leaders have strong relationships with their team members so that their input has the intended result: motivate employees to reach their best potential and improve. Then you don’t have a good relationship with your employees, feedback or constructive criticism can be taken in a negative light. Make sure you communicate effectively and make your team understand where you’re coming from.

#3 Give Rewards and Recognition

Recognizing and rewarding good work is crucial. Showing your appreciation is a powerful motivator and makes employees feel valued. Whether it is through employee recognition programs with bonuses or promotions or informal recognition such as acknowledging great work, it shows employees that their contributions matter. This boosts job satisfaction and encourages consistent high performance, fostering ongoing motivation and engagement.

#4 Create a Motivating Work Environment

Creating a motivating work environment is essential for any organization.

These days, attracting top talent can be a challenge for many businesses. A healthy work environment and a good work-life balance are not optional, they are a must for a highly motivated team and organization.

Click here to read more about manipulating the environment for employee motivation.

#5 Create an Actionable Motivation Plan

Motivation alone isn’t enough; it must be handled effectively. A well-crafted motivation plan translates goals into actionable steps, providing a roadmap for achieving them. This not only keeps individuals and teams on track but also boosts their confidence and determination. Also, when employees have a clear picture of the organizational goals it bridges the gap between goals and achievements.

How to Motivate Your Team at Work

As a leader, you should also know how to motivate any team member, especially challenging ones. There are ten great ways you can motivate employees, including encouraging teamwork, giving them authority, helping them achieve work-life balance, plus seven more.

3 Traits All Motivating and Effective Leaders Must Have

Great leaders who possess these 3 leadership skills have a significant advantage in motivating and leading their teams to success. These key traits are not only essential for motivation but also important for the entire team by building strong, cohesive, and high-performing employees.

The top 3 skills motivating leaders must have are:

  • Vision
  • Trustworthiness
  • Great communicators

Vision

A compelling vision for the future is important in motivating leadership. Leaders with a clear and inspiring vision are more likely to impact and inspire teams. They convey this vision with passion, igniting a sense of purpose among their team members.

Effective leaders should create and share an inspiring vision that will motivate their team. This vision should be realistic and attainable so that the entire team will be motivated to work towards achieving it.

Trustworthiness

As mentioned before building strong relationships with your team members is crucial, and trust is where you should start. Building trust means creating an environment where employees feel safe, valued, and their opinions are heard and not dismissed.

Trustworthy leaders are honest and reliable. When team members believe their leader has their best interests at heart, they are more willing to invest their energy and commitment.

Great communicator

Effective communication is what connects leaders with their teams. Good leaders must not only convey their vision clearly but also be great listeners who genuinely understand their employee’s concerns and ideas. Good communication involves providing feedback, recognizing achievements, and fostering open dialogue. Leaders who excel in this skill can motivate by ensuring everyone feels heard, understood, and valued.

6 Mistakes Leaders Make When Trying to Motivate

Remember that sometimes, as a leader, you will make mistakes. And this is normal, because you don’t have all the answers. This is also true when in comes to motivating others.

These are the 6 biggest mistakes leaders make when trying to motivate others:

  1. Not being present
  2. Not providing feedback
  3. Making things about themselves
  4. Very quick to blame and accuse
  5. Focusing too much on the negativity
  6. Doing things themselves

Not Being Present

When leaders are not present with their team, they are not able to build relationships or motivate them. Make sure you are available to your team members and that you are paying attention to what they are saying and doing. Multitasking when someone is talking to you basically tells them: ‘You’re not that important’.

Not Providing Feedback

Feedback is essential for motivation. Make sure you are giving your team members regular feedback, both positive and negative. This way people have a clear idea of what to change or improve and it’s a roadmap on how to become better.

Making Things About Themselves

When leaders make things about themselves, they can come across as self-centered and uncaring. Focus on the needs of your team and how you can help them succeed.

Very Quick to Blame and Accuse

When you are quick to blame and accuse, it can create a negative and unmotivating environment. Focus on solutions and how you can work together to improve processes and workflow. Try to be more proactive in resolving the problem rather than reactive to the problem.

Focusing Too Much on the Negativity

It’s human nature to focus too much on negativity, but it can demoralize the team and make it difficult to stay motivated. Focus on the positive and what the team can achieve.

Doing Things Themselves

When you start doing things yourself and not delegate, it doesn’t give your team the opportunity to learn and grow. Empower your team to take ownership of their work and make decisions.

5 Motivational Leader Examples

If you are looking for some motivational leaders that you can learn from, here are 5 examples:

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a committed advocate, a keen and innovative strategist, as well as a mission-focused collaborative leader whose work was driven by her cause beyond her career. She was a Supreme Court Justice of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was known for her work on gender equality and her ability to inspire others with her passion for justice.Her commitment to gender equality reshaped the legal landscape. Her strategic brilliance and collaborative approach left a lasting legacy. She reminds us that leaders driven by a higher purpose can create profound change through determination and cooperation.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American civil rights leader who is best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech. He was a gifted orator who was able to articulate the hopes and dreams of millions of people.MLK was not just brave; he was an icon of the civil rights movement who inspired millions. His determination in the face of adversity changed the course of history. His legacy reminds us that even in challenging times, our beliefs can spark powerful change.
  • Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is known for her ability to connect with people on a personal level and her ability to tell stories that inspire and uplift.Oprah’s resilience is a testament to her leadership. She’s not only overcome personal hurdles but has also empowered others to do the same. Through her storytelling, she’s created a community of inspiration and hope.
  • Steve Jobs was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. He was known for his ability to articulate complex ideas in a simple and engaging way. He was also a master of storytelling, and he often used stories to sell his products and ideas.Jobs’ innovative spirit revolutionized the tech industry. His willingness to take bold steps and redefine possibilities left an indelible mark. He showed that leadership is about pushing boundaries and having others share in your vision.
  • Michelle Obama was the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is known for her ability to connect with people from all walks of life. She is also a gifted orator, and she has given many inspiring speeches on topics such as education, health, and social justice.Michelle’s compassion knows no bounds. Her ability to connect with people on a personal level is her greatest strength. She’s a role model for leaders who aim to make a genuine impact on their communities.

What these leaders have in common is their ability to connect with people on a personal level and their ability to articulate a clear vision for the future.

What is captivating about these leaders is their ability to use their platform to make a difference in the world. They are all driven by a strong sense of purpose, and they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. They are also excellent communicators, and they are able to connect with people on a deep level.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a particularly inspiring leader because she was able to achieve so much despite facing discrimination and adversity throughout her life. She was a role model for women and girls everywhere, and she showed the world that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

How to motivate yourself

Just like motivating others, motivating yourself can sometimes be a challenge. Still, this is the only way you can achieve your dreams and fulfill your life goals. However, you shouldn’t know just how to motivate yourself, but also how to remain motivated.

FAQ

Good leaders motivate others through various strategies.

Firstly, they define clear goals and tasks, ensuring that team members understand their roles and the bigger picture.

Secondly, leaders give rewards and recognition for outstanding performance, making employees feel valued and appreciated.

Thirdly, they create an actionable motivation plan, pairing motivation with concrete actions.

Lastly, leaders must lead by example, possess self-awareness, and exhibit the traits of a motivating leader, such as having a vision, being trustworthy, and communicating effectively. 

Effective communication is a key trait when it comes to being a powerful motivator. To communicate effectively you must: articulate your vision clearly and passionately, explaining not just what needs to be done but why it’s important. Build trust by being honest, reliable, and ethical in your interactions. Improve your communication skills by actively listening to your team’s concerns and ideas. Make the time to provide feedback, recognize achievements, and encourage open dialogue to maintain strong communication channels.

Inspiring others requires being self-aware and guiding them in the right direction.

To thrive, companies and leaders must become more flexible and learn from setbacks. Engaging and happy employees are key. Trust is vital, but it’s often lacking these days. High employee turnover is a sign of this.

So, what makes a good leader today? They provide clear direction, care about their team’s well-being, and support their employees with growth opportunities or skill upscaling. They also listen and build trust. Continuous learning is crucial. Great leaders adapt, create a sense of purpose, and help their teams grow. They embrace change and turn it into an opportunity for success.

Dr. Michelle Rozen
Dr. Michelle Rozen

Dr. Michelle Rozen, Ph.D., is a highly respected authority on the psychology of change. She is one of the most booked motivational speakers nationwide as well as internationally, and a frequent guest on media outlets such as NBC, ABC, FOX News, and CNN on topics related to dealing with change in our world and in every aspect of our lives, so that we can do better and feel better.

Her most recent book, 2 Second Decisions helps people power through with their most challenging decisions through turbulent times.

Dr. Michelle Rozen consistently speaks for Fortune 500 companies and her clients include some of the most recognizable companies in the world including Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, and The U.S. Navy. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Psychology and resides in the greater NYC area.

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