With fast turnaround times and short deadlines leaders often feel pressured to be efficient and focus on the facts. Customer requirements, specific deliverables, production variables. Sometimes that granular focus prevents leaders from shifting into one of the most impactful, yet overlooked roles, the motivator. 

Often seen as the energizer, the inspirer. It’s the classic question about substance versus style and great leaders need both. Being a motivator is more about relating to your team members and being able to encourage them in a way that fosters positive action. Leaders who successfully motivate their teams can have a variety of personality types, but what they all need is a solid connection with their team members. That comes as a result of taking the time to build genuine relationships with them. 

If you want to inspire your teams here are four strategies you can apply. 

  1. Establish an inspiring environment. Is the tone of your workplace encouraging or cutthroat? Do people have a desire to keep learning, producing, and succeeding? One of the best ways to create an inspiring environment is to show employees how much you care. Ask them questions about themselves, their lives, their goals, their experience of work. How are they feeling about the goals that are set? What are their concerns? Listen carefully and take action to support and encourage them. 
  2. Bring goals and objectives to life. In talking with your team about goals, move beyond the need to inform and instruct. Instead, engage and inspire. When you prepare to discuss objectives in a meeting consider the feelings you want to conjure up among your team members. How can you help them connect with the bigger purpose? Lead a vision session, identify strategies & goals. How could you add a fresh perspective? Weave in some story-telling to add context and make your key points in a powerful way. You might even ask a team member to participate in the process. 
  3. Tailor your communication. When you really get to know the people on your team you can personalize your communication to be more effective at motivating each individual. Some people need quiet confirmation to move forward, while others love the thrill of the challenge in some friendly competition. Have regular one on one meetings with each team member and team meetings; keep in communication but be flexible with individuals.
  4. Maintain forward progress despite challenges. It’s one thing to be motivational when everything’s going great, but it’s a whole different ball game in the face of challenges and setbacks. Be prepared to continue motivating your team members even when adversity creeps in, and it will at some point. Maintaining enthusiasm certainly helps, but great leaders also know how to establish meaning in the difficulties themselves and they use those to unify the team, sometimes even accelerating their forward momentum. Don’t let negativity derail your efforts and if you can, help your team build strength by working together to resolve problems. 

When you are successful at playing the role of leader as motivator you can help your team members tap into their full potential and you can make an incredible impact to elevate productivity and performance.