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Contributing Author: Jamie Kaufhold
Perhaps the first thing to remember in considering how to best motivate your supporting team is that leadership has moral as well as authoritative values. Those who are following your leadership in your business look to you for support as well as guidance, challenge as well as opportunity, and ethical insight as well as business acumen.
Leadership is not a solitary endeavor, although it can feel that way.
Since one cannot, as the old military joke goes, “lead from behind,” the question is how to maximize your business growth potential from within your human resources by motivating your people in the best and most efficient way possible. Here are five proven tactics to reconnect with the people you rely on.
Remembering Why You Started this Adventure in the First Place
Look around you. The best leaders in the industry are often those who started out as entrepreneurs with a vision of helping others or building a better product or even a better world, not just helping themselves. Was this you? And do you still espouse the same idealism? We have all dealt with (and, possibly, judged) those government employees who, with job security on lockdown, feel comfortable flaunting their apathy and poor attitudes, but how often do we turn our powers of analysis inwards? Remember that, no matter who you are, a visionary is a much easier, not to mention more interesting, person to follow than a self-interested cynic.
Having the Heart of a Servant
Having the heart of a servant is not about being at the bottom of the totem pole or having relatively few professional skills; it is about being of maximum use to one’s fellows and, by extension, to humanity. Even if your killer business instincts leave your team in no doubt for whom the bell tolls (i.e., the other team), you can still be an example of a leader with a servant’s heart by becoming more involved in your community or by starting a “Giving Back” fund for your favorite charity.
Phoenix, Arizona attorney and businessman Glen Lerner recently started a “News” section on his company web page detailing the company’s charitable exploits. “Besides being the right thing to do, I think it’s been good for business, as well as company morale,” Lerner said. “We try to be supportive of charities that reflect the values and concerns of our employees, so that everyone has the opportunity to be a part of something going on in the larger scheme of things, something greater than ourselves.”
Building Trust with Others
In his best-selling book The Seven habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey hit the nail on the head when talking about the relationship between a person’s integrity and their success-level: “If I try to use human intelligence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to get more motivated, to like me and each other—while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity or insincerity—then, in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do—even so-called good human relations techniques—will be perceived as manipulative.” Any time you break a moral principle, you create a small crack in the foundation of your integrity, and you spend too much time with the denizens of your office for them not to notice, whether you kid yourself about it or not.
Develop Listening Skills
When you become a good listener, you put yourself in a position to help yourself, not just the person to whom you are listening. As women in business, we have the advantage of being seen as more nurturing than men and we are thus more likely to be confided in. It may seem elementary, but everyone can use a review of listening skills from time to time. Here are nine ways to improve yourself in this department:
1). Look at the speaker;
2). Don’t interrupt;
3). Focus on understanding the speaker;
4). Determine the “needs” and “wants” of the speaker at the time of the conversation;
5). Ask questions to make sure you understand;
6). Pay attention to (and regulate) you emotional response to what the speaker is saying;
7). Suspend your judgement;
8). Set aside distractions to focus on the speaker;
9). Sum up the conversation at major intervals.
Practicing these listening skills could revolutionize your entrepreneurial practice and revitalize your team, bringing members back online that may have been drifting, or motivating those whose personal lives may be interfering with their work. As the office leader, it is part of your job to be a hub for communications, and being a good listener is a vital skill that should never be neglected or underestimated.
Be a Team Player
Remember, everyone on your team wants to “Be Somebody.” Even the least ambitious person in your circle wants to be well-regarded and seen as a valued contributor. Once that important piece of information becomes a part of your everyday thinking, you will have access to a great source of power, the knowledge of what motivates the vast majority of people around you. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
About the Contributing Author:
Jamie Kaufhold is an Online Advertising and Marketing professional and an SEO copywriter for Organic Media Group, LLC. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, a graduate of the University of Puget Sound, and a proud mother to four beautiful children. You are invited to visit her or view her personal blog at Linkedin or Facebook. Be sure to visit Jamie on Google+.
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