I will often ask that question of people in leadership positions. Authentic Leaders have an answer. Other leaders have a response.
The main difference between an answer and a response is the answer is based on what someone knows and a response is based on what they think.
Authentic Leaders know what motivates their people because they have asked them. Other leaders assume they know or they figure what motivates them will also motivate everyone else.
Assuming they know what motivates another person is an all too common mistake of ineffective leaders. Every person is unique. They have different life experiences that shape their beliefs, their likes, their dislikes and their motivations. To assume otherwise is a fool’s errand.
Authentic Leaders invest the required time to understand the unique motivators for each of their people. Sometimes that means helping their people discover what motivates them because oftentimes people don’t stop to consider this important question on their own.
Authentic Leaders know that everyone is naturally motivated. Some people lose their motivation along life’s way and need to be reminded and refreshed. Some people just need help maintaining their motivation.
Whatever circumstances your people find themselves in, one of your key responsibilities as a leader is to help them maintain or restore their motivation.
There are leadership development programs that discuss “clues” to finding what motivates your people. There are leadership developments programs that offer tools like the DISC Test to help determine a person’s motivations.
I’m not a big fan of any of that. I’m a fan of a leader talking with their people on a regular basis to truly get to know them. I believe Authentic Leadership requires that level of personal leading take place…frequently.
If you want to know what motivates your people and how you can help them stay motivated to reach their goals and excel in their job and in life then ASK. The question will surprise people who have never been led by an Authentic Leader. Ask anyway!
Ask and then demonstrate another leadership characteristic they may not be used to…LISTEN to their answer.
Disengaged employees can suck the life out of any organization. Unmotivated employees quickly become disengaged. When you lead your people to what keeps them motivated you give them and your organization a chance at lasting success.
Do YOU know what motivates YOUR people?
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