Productivity and efficiency in the workplace are key components to a successful company. Strong leaders empower their people to work in meaningful and fulfilling way, apart from just being productive. However, team management is not an easy job, and being a leader can sometimes be a weightier responsibility than what it seems to be.
To achieve bigger feats, employee satisfaction should be a priority. For one, keeping them motivated and inspired to increase engagement and effectiveness levels are a few things that most leaders should take into consideration.
But how do you keep your people motivated at all times? Doing the same kind of work for the rest of your working life is enough to send someone into a spiral of existential crisis.
So, it is the leader’s responsibility to keep the team’s morale up, but more than that, to give purpose to the work that team members are working hard to do.
People in the company are hired based on qualifications and experiences. You may be able to hire the most competent employees in the world, but if they are unmotivated, their potentials will remain untapped.
And for you to help them reach their maximum potential, they have to see their jobs as something they truly enjoy, and something that is worth their while.
To better understand this, let us explore the two types of motivation–extrinsic and intrinsic.
This type of motivation makes use of external factors in order to encourage people to do the job. This could be in the form of:
- Time offs
- Bonus checks
Extrinsic motivation could even be as simple and easy as acknowledging a job well done. For instance, giving them titles like “Employee of the Month” is a good type of motivator.
Although this type of motivator may seem temporary and ‘whatever gets the job done’ kind of thing, it is, nonetheless, an efficient way to instantly lift your team members’ spirits up.
Apart from acknowledgment, time offs can also help your team become more productive. For example, in the case of the countries that are ranked as the happiest on Earth, such as Finland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Iceland, they have mandated a shorter work week, taking a four-day work week instead of the usual five to six days.
Interestingly, these countries are associated with a 40 percent decrease in absences and an increase in productivity by 25 percent, as well as an improvement in mental health by as much as 87 percent.
While we should not be concluding that working less is the answer to a more positive and happy life, it is fair to say that having shorter work weeks gave their working class a better work-life balance.
That is only one example of extrinsic motivation. It may not be the solution suitable for every country or workplace, but it can be an inspiration for other ideas to bloom.
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is internal in nature. It is described as the individual’s desire to progress, finish tasks, and overcome challenges. A person’s motivation does not only come from external factors but will also depend on the individual’s personality or outlook.
It is arguably the job of a leader to spark that initiative and encourage this motivation. This is also where the leader can put on a coaching hat and help their people understand their values and connect their work with their personal purpose in life.
The Difference Between a Coach and a Manager
In order to instill intrinsic motivation, we should first assess whether you as a leader want to act as a manager or a coach.
The difference? Well, it is quite simple. The manager’s mindset leans more on giving directives. While the coaching mindset works towards a more collaborative and empowering experience.
The leader as a coach does not simply provide knowledge on processes or tasks, instead they bring the employees towards the realization of what needs to be done and what is missing. It is pointing them towards their own potential–their own insights, their own methods, their own problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. Instead of giving subordinates directions, leaders are freeing up more space for creative explorations.
You can say that if management is giving people fish, then coaching is teaching people how to fish for themselves.
The Role of Leadership Coaching
The key idea of leadership coaching is to lead people through career coaching. This primarily means inspiring them and guiding them as they traverse the waters of their career. It’s a leadership style of empowering and nurturing people, as well as fostering their professional growth.
Becoming a Leader-Coach
- Developing good communication skills and being open with your team members are key elements in leadership coaching. Creating a coach-coachee relationship is also beneficial as long as the end point of it is to empower people and bring out their unique gifts or talent.
- Try giving your people a purpose in what they are working hard for. It is, without a doubt, a good way to be a leader-coach to your team members. Why are they here? For what reason are they doing the things they are doing? It is the leader’s job to bring them closer to an answer most acceptable to them.
- Make them feel a strong sense of belongingness. Let them know that you, as a leader, as well as the whole organization values them so much as a part of the team. Being part of something larger than life is in itself satisfactory and a motivation to keep doing what one is doing.
Remember that every team member is different and they all will have different motivators that would work best. Employing a mix of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations will help keep a positive, friendly, and challenging culture at work. In such a culture, people are open to take risks and challenge themselves without fearing about the occasional failures that they will encounter.
That said, being an effective leader is easier said than done. This is the responsibility and privilege of being a leader. Just keep in mind that a strong leader is able to show a good vision and inspire people to engage and realize that vision. This kind of leadership brings about change that does not only help the organisation achieve success but also help each individual work in a nurturing and fulfilling way.
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