In addition to the leader harnessing the support of his team, he needs to ensure that team members support one another, and have a good understanding of one another’s roles and responsibilities (plus challenges and frustrations!) Fractal behaviour is the term given to the repetition of a simple act at frequent intervals. One sees it in nature in the petals of a flower, and in how bricks are laid in a wall. We also see it exhibited in a team – when they are consistent and predictable. This can only be achieved through genuine understanding.
Everyone needs someone with whom they can share their war stories and dilemmas – confidentially. It is not a weakness, but a strength to be able to accept wise counsel. A leader needs another leader to listen. It is important that you have someone who you can implicitly trust to listen, sometimes guide, but to always keep the conversation confidential. This person needs to be someone who tells you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear (those lower down the organisation may be inhibited about saying openly what they think and limiting their career options). Discretion is vital, so test this person before you offload. Ask them what their definition of confidential is. Be sure that they understand that they cannot in turn tell their colleague, best friend or spouse. Let them lead you.
The most expensive staff members are not necessarily those in the executive tier earning high salaries. Expensive staff members are actually those who are the least productive. Why are they so unproductive? Probably because they are not motivated.
Motivation is emotive, and it can be extrinsic or intrinsic. It is individual. Some people will be motivated by power, money and status, others by acknowledgement. Some want flexibility, others security. You need to move your team, touch their hearts and extract their passion. Create an environment that is free from influences that de-motivate your team. They want to know what their contribution to the overall goals is; they want recognition for that contribution and they want to know what is expected of them.
Some leaders adopt the carrot method, others prefer the stick method. One cannot dispute the value of using positive reinforcement to lead a team – praise works wonders and costs nothing. Motivation is not a once-off, it needs to be sustained. Successful people are those who are motivated and can maintain a high level of motivation. Often this rubs off on those around them, so it is essential for a leader to be self-motivated.
It is vital that the end result is what motivates one. Staff who know their roles and what is expected of them, are more likely to remain motivated.