The Ability to Inspire and Motivate

The average person in our society works at less than 50 percent of capacity, and sometimes at only 40 percent capacity. Leaders draw out of people that 30 percent, 40 percent, or 50 percent of additional capacity and get them to contribute far beyond their previous performance.

Motivation Factors

The first step is to understand what motivates people, what is going to get them to do that extra 30 percent or 50 percent. We have identified six motivation factors that are key to turning average performers into exceptional performers.

The first motivation factor is to give people challenging and interesting work. When employees aren't engaged, non-leaders will look to blame the employees. But are those employees only given mundane tasks that are not interesting in any way? Leaders understand that to motivate people you have to give them a reason to be motivated. Give them work that will stretch them and move them out of their comfort zones and help them grow.

The second factor that motivates people is open communication. Leaders don't just tell employees what to do without any explanation of why they are doing it. Employees will be inspired and motivated if they understand how their tasks fit into the overall picture.

The third factor is responsibility and accountability. If employees are held responsible for the tasks, they are much more likely to be engaged in the task. It also builds up their confidence and self-esteem Leaders know how to support their employees while at the same time stepping back and giving them full responsibility.

The fourth factor is personal growth and promotion. If employees feel that they are advancing in the skills or learning something new and important, then they will be much more motivated to work as best as they can.

As for the fifth and sixth motivating or inspiring factors, they are the ones that most people think of first! I'm talking about money and working conditions. Money and working conditions will motivate people. But contrary to popular wisdom, they are not the most important motivators.

The Three Emotional Needs

Employees have three types of emotional needs that, if satisfied, will keep them motivated and inspired.

The first is the need for dependence, to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves, and it is an important element in an umbrella organization that is doing something important. Continually emphasize to employees that their work is valuable to the goals of the company.

The second type of emotional need is the need for independence. In this case, people want to be recognized for their own personal qualities and accomplishments, for what they are achieving as individuals. Make sure that you take every opportunity to make employees feel great about themselves personally.

The third type of emotional need is the need for interdependence. This is the need to feel that you are a part of a team, working effectively and cooperatively on the same goals. The best leaders will be constantly seeking ways to keep the working relationships among employees harmonious and productive.

Leaders who can satisfy all three of these emotional needs will have employees who are happy and motivated to work hard and contribute to the success of the company.

The Art of Delegation

Delegation is an important way to inspire and motivate people because it gives them ownership in the tasks and the goals of the department or the company. Here are some of the essentials you need to know about delegating.

First, pick the right person. Delegating a task to the wrong person, for whatever reason, is sure to lead to failure. Instead of motivating someone, you've done the opposite. Picking the right person is the linchpin of delegation.

Second, match the requirements of the job to the abilities of the person. Does the person have the skills and experience required to get the job done?

Third, delegate effectively to the right person. Look to delegate any tasks that can be done by other people so that you can concentrate your time on the high-value tasks.

Fourth, delegate smaller tasks to newer staff members. This will give them a chance to build up their confidence and grow in their ability to complete larger tasks.

Fifth, delegate the entire job. People are motivated when they have complete responsibility for the job, not when they are given bits and pieces to do.

Sixth, delegate clear outcomes. Explain clearly what needs to be done, and set up metrics to measure the outcome. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

Finally, delegate with participation and discussion. Participation is always more motivating than simply being handed a task or responsibility. Invite people to ask questions and make suggestions. It will ensure that they take complete ownership of the task.

When you delegate an assignment, have the employee repeat it back to you. It is absolutely imperative that the employee understands the assignment. Don't delegate an assignment to an employee who is not taking notes. There's a 50 percent chance that the employee is going to misunderstand your instructions, so now is the time to catch the error. If necessary, give the person a piece of paper or writing pad for taking notes.

Be What You Want Them to Be

There are several other ways that leaders inspire and motivate people. One way is to arouse enthusiasm Leaders recognize that it's up to them to turn their people into enthusiastic participants. When Frances Hesselbein took over as head of the Girl Scouts, the organization was floundering. But Hesselbein knew that the volunteers involved in the organization were looking for a reason to be motivated and inspired. β€œIt's not about creating enthusiasm; it's about releasing it β€” tapping the incredible energy that people have in their hearts and minds to serve others,” Hesselbein says. Hesselbein found a way to tap into that energy, and her complete turnaround of the Girl Scouts earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Leaders often arouse enthusiasm by being enthusiastic themselves. There is a one-to-one relationship between how excited and enthusiastic you are about what you're doing and how excited and enthusiastic you can make other people. If you are tremendously enthusiastic, then your employees will be enthusiastic as well, although to a lesser degree.

Another way to inspire and motivate others is through your commitment. Leaders are committed 100 percent. One of the characteristics of leaders is that they are all in β€” 100 percent. They are not in for a little bit; they have a sense of total commitment to their work. The level of commitment that you have is going to help determine the commitment of others around you.

By the way, your level of commitment is going to determine the attention that you get from your superiors because highly committed people are always considered more valuable to an organization and preferred for promotions. People who run their own businesses will also find that their level of enthusiasm and commitment to their own company and products and to serving their customers is going to be a key determinant of whether or not they become leaders in their field.

Leaders also empower others through encouragement. When you study the leadership stories of George Washington at Valley Forge encouraging his soldiers, Napoleon marching with his soldiers into battle, and Alexander the Great camping with his troops in the field and telling his troops how much he believed in them, you know that encouragement is a powerful tool in inspiring and motivating.

Leaders inspire trust and confidence. The wonderful thing is that if we truly believe in our leadership and the people who are in charge, we will do things that are far beyond anything we can imagine. If our trust or our confidence in those people wanes, then our motivation suffers.

Finally, leaders inspire loyalty, and loyalty, as you know, is the cement that binds together an organization. Loyalty is actually critical and vital to the success of any organization. Leaders get people to become totally loyal and dedicated to the organization.

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