Being a leader sometimes means playing multiple roles at any given time - a mentor, a coach, a disciplinarian, and more. To be able to motivate and inspire your team, you will need to perform more than one function. With all the stressors in and around the workplace, the multi-faceted, positive leader is more essential than ever.
When we think of the word leader, we usually think: strict, stern, and always following the rules. However, to really make an impact as a team leader, project manager, or even small business owner, it helps to approach leadership in a positive, hence, more effective and impactful way. If you’re asking yourself, “How to inspire my team?” or “How to motivate my team?” you’re on the right track. Read on for 6 tips (and more!) to inspire and motivate your team through positive leadership.
Anyone can lead. Even if you're not a born leader, there are skills you can acquire that will enable you to move up the corporate ladder. In time, it all becomes redundant and tired. As a leader, your team will produce results but at what cost? You risk burnout, loss of motivation, and even ill health when you push your team too hard without any respite in between or variation to how you run your team.
If you want to be the kind of leader who inspires and motivates your team enough to make them want to be the same type of leader in the future, choose to be a positive leader. Positive leadership will produce results that will create ripple effects in the company, if not, the industry, happier employees, and more satisfied customers and clients.
Unsure of the distinction between a leader and a positive leader? It’s all down to helping your team members achieve their highest potential by uplifting, empowering, and, therefore, encouraging, inspiring, and motivating them instead of merely directing them and laying out what’s expected of them. Here are the ways in which you can do all of these and more:
1. Share your goals and visions for the team with each team member
Sometimes, leading your team is like going on a journey with them, expecting them to trust you enough to follow you. However, sometimes, being able to visualize the destination helps fuel the machinery to complete the journey. In positive leadership, sharing your goals for the team with them helps each team member see the bigger picture of your plans and hopes for them in the near future, showing them what their role will be in the process, instilling a sense of value and accountability within each of them. This turns them from employees to team leaders, project managers, or even small business owners over time.
Cement the team together and secure their commitment by letting them see where you plan to take them 6 months, 1 year, or 3 years down the line. Whether it’s promoting internally, expanding their job scope by delegating tasks, or training them for a department they wish to move to or are better qualified for, sharing your plans can do a lot in terms of inspiring and motivating your team.
Communication is easily passed as exchanging work-related messages with teammates or conducting team meetings, but leaders don’t always get it right. Positive leadership entails more meaningful communication, the type that not only generates results but also edifies the soul, makes the heart more full, and creates a deeper appreciation for one another and the job.
More than merely talking to someone else, a positive leader understands that communicating with someone means practicing transparency, setting boundaries within the workplace while being approachable and relatable at the same time, and being honest without being cruel, abrupt or flippant. It’s communication with respect, humility, and assertiveness with the aim of encouraging as well as providing feedback and guidance to each team member. Communication from the perspective of positive leadership also means letting your team know that your door is always open to them and that they can come to you whenever they need to without feeling shame, fear, or embarrassment.
Part of positive leadership is teaching your team ways to do their jobs better and more effectively while helping them solve problems and make decisions in the workplace. Apart from regular checks like quality assurance, productivity, and attendance reports, among others, schedule regular coaching sessions with each and every member of your team. Keep in mind that this can be done in many ways, depending on the topic or the seriousness of the matter at hand.
Coaching sessions can be done in as quick as 15 minutes or 30 minutes if you want to just go over the things that still need to be done or minimal items for improvement. These quick, casual talks do not need to be documented at all times. Just set aside some time to chat with a team member, see where they’re at work-wise, and close the conversation by assuring them that they can always come to you whenever they need you.
For team members whom you may have noticed are struggling or falling behind on their performance, you can take more time. Positive leadership means being able to have more serious conversations where everything is laid out in black and white like items such as action plans, corrective action, and incident reports. Let them know that the purpose is not to humiliate or embarrass but to check with them to make sure they’re inspired and motivated to continue on. Is there something you can do? Can the rest of the team also pitch in and help out? Lastly, schedule follow-up sessions with them to let them know that you are serious in helping them overcome the challenges they are facing.
One careless word is all it takes to break a spirit. If you’re not careful, you can say the wrong thing at the wrong time and do irreversible damage to your team’s motivation. Remember two things at all times: correct in private and praise in public. Whatever the team conversation is about during a meeting, for example, separate the items to celebrate from the items for improvement and set them aside.
Instead, make your team members feel valued by recognizing good performance in full view of everyone. It can be as simple as adding an appreciation badge to their employee profile or sending a company-wide kudo email. No matter how big or small, a win is a win, and positive leadership is celebrating every milestone with your team. If someone who usually has 1 or 2 tardiness incidents in a month achieved perfect attendance this month, celebrate! Your team wallflower mustered up the courage to make and successfully complete a presentation to company leaders, celebrate! Your team claimed the top spot in the company this month, celebrate! Reward and recognize the good and let everyone join in on the party!
Likewise, keep admonitions and corrections private between you and the particular person concerned. No one needs to know that someone else on the team failed at something. Create a positive work environment by letting them feel that they are safe from judgment or mockery even when they do something that is otherwise considered wrong. Check to make sure they’re not misunderstanding anything or confused by something. Maybe that’s why they committed a misstep. Whatever you do, do not correct them in front of everyone else, causing them embarrassment. Instead, make the plan for improvement a sacred agreement between the two of you.
5. Become an inspiring leader and role model
A leader, for some, is a person who tells other people what to do. That’s easy enough. How about showing them how they can get their tasks and projects done? It’s sometimes easier said. Some leaders may argue that it’s been too long since they’ve done the job themselves, but maintaining the skills the job requires is key. Positive leadership includes being able to talk the talk and walk the walk, as it were, which can motivate and inspire your team a great deal.
The ability to do the job yourself and show your team how it’s done helps remove any apprehensions they may have about their capabilities, boosting their confidence. If they know you can do it, what’s stopping them? It creates a belief in them that if their leader can achieve anything, they can too! So, anytime you notice someone in your team hesitating or looking confused, take them aside and give them a demonstration. Finish it off with a pat on the back or an encouraging word to send them on their way and watch for awesome results.
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Professionalism and proper decorum should always be observed in the workplace, yes. Absolutely. On the other hand, positive leadership involves allowing some time and space to just chill out with the team and having fun. At the heart of any efficient, productive, and top-performing team is fun on the job. How does one do it, especially when you have a deadline to chase with clients breathing down your neck?
A positive leader knows that work can get stressful enough and looks for ways to counterbalance it with a bit of relaxation, amusement, and rest. Set aside the last 5 minutes of your team meeting for a little trivia game. Schedule an after-work eating outing. Set aside a Saturday to do something for the community as one troop. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not work-related. There is a time for everything, and this time is for allowing the team as a group.
It’s not 100% easy to always be a positive leader, especially if you’re facing challenges in your personal or professional life. It’s always a conscious decision not only for yourself but for your team and company as well, for the sake of your goals and their hopes for the future. As a leader, you have a lot of eyes on you, and, whether you like it or not, people are looking at you as their role model. It’s a lot of responsibility that can take its toll, but the outcome makes it all worthwhile.
Positive leadership not only inspires and motivates your team and everyone else you work with. It also allows everyone to share one vision, improves communication, boosts morale and confidence, and injects fun in the sometimes mundane. Choosing to be a positive leader should be done daily, with your every move and uttered word aimed at accomplishing just that – positive leadership. You and your choice to be a positive leader just might be what makes the workplace an inviting, enjoyable place to be in.
Even with the best of intentions, we all need help in the form of tools to get the best results. A real good leader acknowledges how the use of the proper tools is not only helpful but also important in fulfilling that very.
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Positive leadership means prioritizing your team’s wellbeing – emotionally, mentally, and physically – by using mostly soft skills (people skills or emotional intelligence) to drive better performance, create a positive work environment, and inspire and motivate your team. For a holistic effect, add your hard skills (job-related knowledge and abilities).
The qualities of an inspiring leader are:
The great ways to motivate a team are: