Great leaders come in many forms but all have one thing in common: They understand the dynamics of people. People are the backbone of an organization. Without cooperation and collaboration within a business, you will fail. It is critical to the success and culture of the organization to find out what makes people tick. Common sense tells you that treating people the same will not work. For some reason, many managers do not know of any other way. Even worse, some managers feel they need to dictate versus collaborate.
Great leaders know how to motivate people who want to be motivated. Let me be clear: There are some people who, no matter how great a leader is, cannot be bothered or inspired. You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to be motivated. That’s a hiring issue. I’m not talking about the people who may be going through a rough patch and need support. As long as they have the fire within them, they deserve the time and energy to get through a traumatic event. I’m talking about unenthusiastic people. A better and more accurate word to describe these individuals is lazy. Lazy people need to take their lack of energy elsewhere. To be successful, you have to surround yourself with people who want to grow and contribute to the accomplishments of an organization.
Reassess And Re-Energize
Great leaders analyze their staff on a consistent basis and determine who’s contributing and who isn’t. Leaders need to keep people focused and engaged in tasks. It’s up to the leader to create and nourish the atmosphere for maximum performance. People stay motivated and work harder when they feel they are part of a bigger purpose.
Once the tone is set, leaders need to be sure they handle individuals differently. Find their hot buttons! Determine how you can get more out of people so they feel energized about the mission.
Listening is the easiest way to find out what’s important to your employees. Sounds simple, but many managers do not listen to what their people are telling them. They go about it all wrong, making it more about them and their needs. All good leaders know it’s really about their employees. Sure, you benefit but it really is what makes them energized. Listen to what your employees are saying and know what excites them. These are your tools to motivate.
Motivation could come in the form of money, time off, a handshake, acknowledgment in front of others, a group outing, a coffee gathering at 3 p.m., book club, a monthly recognition program, etc. If you’re providing the wrong recognition, you may actually be causing distress for the employee. For example, if someone is uncomfortable with recognition in front of others but you deliver this big elaborate acknowledgment in front of all their peers, this person may try to avoid recognition again in the future. Therefore, their productivity goes down just to avoid being uncomfortable in front of their peers. Again, it seems like common sense but if you do not listen to your employees, you may never know this about someone.
I firmly believe leaders are developed and not born. If you can learn the basics of leadership, you have the potential to become an influential leader. The biggest impact you can have is on your people. If you have a keen sense of what makes people tick, you can master leadership.
This article was originally posted on Forbes.com.