Motivation is a key ingredient to success. This is not a news flash by any means, and all managers and good leaders embrace some degree of motivational program for their employees; whether they do this consciously or subconsciously, they all do it. Motivation is not some secret society either, but the secret to motivation is the "what" behind it. So what is the "what" anyway?
It's a great question and one that every great leader seeks to answer—although the answer is never the same twice! So that is what makes motivation part of a secret society, remembering and understanding the same employee will have different motivators at different times of her life? And yes, different times can be as often as yearly, monthly or even daily. This is the "what" behind keeping your employees motivated and feeling empowered.
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Now that you're a part of this secret motivational society and you’ve been let into the inner sanctum, you're reading this and still thinking, "What? That isn't a news flash, either!" And yes, you would be right—but the news flash is the remembering that translates into engaging in some form of communication with your employees regularly to ensure you're in the know of what their current motivator is or might be. Regular communication is the real secret ingredient to realizing your success as a great motivational leader.
Think about the great leaders you know. They succeeded due to the fact they never stopped communicating, even when faced with difficulties. They, like you, have invested time, money and energy into inspirational literature and lectures, trying to properly identify role models who will help them lead their employees to success by providing their own sense of inspiration and motivation. It all sounds circular and somewhat confusing, doesn’t it? But as a great leader you have and will have clear-cut goals to reach. You'll also need to have various sources of motivation yourself (regardless of the price tag), empowering you to forge ahead, ready to make tough decisions that might not be so warm and fuzzy or well-received. Knowing what motivates your employees to empower them to be on board with your difficult decisions will be what sets you apart from the rest.
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Communication is the only way to keep your employees motivated and feeling empowered. Remember, communication is a two-way street; thus, the feeling of empowerment will come from your willingness to listen and consider their ideas, feedback and comments—all with an open ear, mind and heart. Their motivation will be derived from this sense of empowerment, as it will nourish whatever their current motivator might be.
As a great leader, you will take their input and find a way to incorporate some small element into your long-range plan (and, if appropriate into the more immediate business strategies) while communicating these "adjustments" back to your employees. Why would you share this information with employees? Not only do you want to ensure they're aware of the changes, but empowerment comes from your employees feeling powerful. This isn't necessarily power over people per se, but it lets them feel they're in control and have power over their own lives.