What is the role of leadership when it comes to motivating staff? Some would argue that if you hire the right people they will be self motivated and that will be enough. Others think that effective leadership is about empowering people and giving them the autonomy to do the job. And finally others believe that it is up to leaders to drive motivation. The true answer, most likely is that it requires a bit of all three.
When somebody is hired the price of entry is driven by Extrinsic Motivation; people want to know what their entitlements are in terms of pay, bonus, benefits, etc. However, a cautionary note is that the more somebody feels entitled the less it becomes a motivational driver. In fact, when these entitlements become threatened, for example not earning the same bonus as previous year, it can actually become de-motivating.
As a result, once an individual is on board it is imperative that Intrinsic Motivation is also present. These are more emotional that tangible factors such as engagement, respect, autonomy, purpose, etc. But this also places an additional burden on leadership. It requires certain skills but many leaders often do not act effectively on this critical element. However failure to do so could be regarded as abdicating responsibility or, even worse, dereliction of duty. This might seem harsh but it speaks to the absolute imperative of ensuring that the intrinsic motivators are clearly present for staff which can be facilitated around the following set of leadership skills.
- Empowering Conversations – be able to effectively question and listen
- Communication of Expectations – clearly articulate what the organization requires
- Appropriate Support – timely check ins to see if help is required
- Consistent Accountability – review of results relative to expectations
- Fair Recognition – verbal acknowledgement of success
Leaders should eliminate ego as well as judgmental and critical behaviors. The focus needs to be squarely on the other person and how to facilitate their success.