Have you ever worked for someone, either directly or indirectly, that you would have walked through fire for? Ok, not literally, but they had such a positive impact on you or the organization as a whole, that you wanted to work hard for them? If so, that’s an example of great leadership. There are those who say leadership is guiding a group to complete an assignment or task, while others say leadership is about how you motivate people to be their strongest self. While opinions can vary, the overall concept remains the same: a good leader knows how to set a clear direction and inspire & motivate teams to achieve established goals. But I believe it should go a bit further. A highly effective leader sets a clear direction and inspires & motivates teams to achieve goals because they want to, not because they have to.
Author Dan Pink has dedicated over 40 years to studying Human Behavior in Business and has found that while motivating employees with money may result in incremental improvements, if you want true long-term consistent effort and goal achievement from your team, you must create that motivation within the employees, themselves. Pink cites three key areas to drive intrinsic motivation within an employee: 1) Autonomy (the ability to self-pace or take their own approach to goals), 2) Mastery (the desire to improve), and 3) Purpose (connecting a meaningful outcome to their work).
As a leader, it is imperative to understand how motivation impacts your team. Let’s be clear that the goal is not for leaders to motivate their people to work; the goal is to create the optimal environment for motivation to develop and flourish within your employees. How an employee is treated has a strong influence on their motivation and performance, so it is imperative to make positive motivation a team effort. By focusing on creating a positive work environment aimed to motivate and inspire, you can ensure stability and a higher performance by fulfilled employees.