The reward of our work is not what we get, but what we become – Paulo Coelho
How can a leader motivate and engage others?
Since the launch of the Life Makeover Project, leaders have asked me so many questions regarding employee motivation and engagement. It’s normal. Being a leader is a big responsibility. It seems like more and more people are gaining an understanding that if they want to change others, they must change themselves. Acknowledging how their own behavior might be contributing to others‘response and that if they lead by example, they will live happier and more peaceful lives.
Regardless of our title, status, age or experiences, we are all faced with opportunities of being a leader and practice leadership skills at any given moment. There are strong similar links between leadership in the work field and being a parent, a coach of a sports team, friends deciding on an outing, families discussing distribution of chores. Each of these involves influence and decision making.
Our actions and character during our leadership role, has a huge impact towards the success of our own professional and personal life and towards making a difference to those around us.
Because I feel that the role of a leader is so important in inspiring the best in others and guiding them towards a meaningful future, I have prepared a series of posts with my answers to some popular questions. Although, they are based on essential leadership skills in the work field, you will recognize that life outside the work field is no different.
Through your experiences, commitments and responsibilities, many of you have developed leadership skills that have made a positive difference in your life and in the life of others. As we go along, you are invited to share your answers, experience and expertise in the comments.
My answers will be based on 16 years experience of leading individuals. From transforming employees who were labeled as being difficult into role models, to transforming low performing into elite teams. I cannot promise that this transformation will happen overnight. Let me tell you, there was a lot of trial and error, pulling my hair and an endless supply of patience involved. The good news is that you will notice a change almost immediately.
Another thing you probably should know up front, is that my answers are not some “how to” template. They are ingredients for you to use in creating your own personalized recipe for each employee. I definitely will not try to change your leadership style or character. Actually, maintaining your authenticity, your experience and who YOU are, are key in bringing out the best on others.
Sometimes, no matter how long we’ve been doing something, we are faced with certain situations, in this case, employee situations, where we feel stuck. We need to step away for a while, take a deep breath and get a fresh look at it. Different circumstances call for different approaches and to adapt the way we lead. In these series, I will share some approaches I have taken in similar situations to help you get that fresh look at it.
Let me start by telling you something I learned to be extremely helpful in leading people. We can’t expect someone to change or to trust us because of our status. We need to earn their trust. Unless they have decided for themselves that they want to change, people don’t change. They have to want it for themselves, it needs to come from them. However, as a leader, you are in a position to influence others to want to change for themselves through your actions and character. Once you have earned someone’s trust and they feel you have their best interest at heart (not yours), they will more likely be open to you, listen to what you have to say and take responsibility to improve and collaborate in building team spirit.
“Character makes trust possible, and trust is the foundation of leadership.” — John Maxwell
So how can we, as leaders, effectively influence employees to be motivated and engaged?
Over the next couple of days, I will be writing a series of 5 posts on this topic. I have gathered and grouped questions raising similar concerns together. Each post will consist of a specific question representing each group where I will share my “tough love” answer.
(Special thanks to all the individuals who have agreed to let me use their personal questions in putting these series together).
I hope it will be of some help to you. Again, please give your feedback, suggestions and thoughts that will further help us in positively influencing others.
The full Q&A series are: