As a leader, part of your job is to determine the best way to inspire and motivate those who work for you. This is one area in which the tenets of leadership differ from the characteristics of a manager; a manager can assign tasks and expect them to be fulfilled, noting that this is what those employees are being paid for. While this is certainly true, someone who aspires to be viewed as a true leader must make the effort to see that employees are not just doing their jobs because of the promise of a paycheck, but are doing so with the company’s interests at heart. This latter approach can reap dividends for leadership, as those who feel that they are somehow invested in the company will do what they can to look for opportunities to help that business thrive.
So how then does one motivate and inspire employees? One of the easiest ways to do so is to make sure that they understand that you appreciate their efforts. No one likes to feel as if his work is unrecognized or is being conducted in a vacuum, and so taking the time to let employees know that they are a valued part of the company will help them want to do their best. This appreciation can take the form of verbal recognition, and this recognition can even be broadcast in a company newsletter or something similar. Monetary gifts are also always appreciated, and these can even take the form of a $25 giftcard to a coffee shop – in other words, something that would not be a stretch for the company, but that would be valued by the employee.
A leader can also inspire employees via his or her actions. This means being a good example, and not insisting that employees act a certain way while you as the leader or head of the company act another. While you may feel justified in having a different set of rules for your own behavior, employees will take note and be resentful, or at least not inspired to act in the manner in which they are being instructed to act. A true leader inspires others by looking at himself first and setting an example for others through behavior and thought.
A leader will also challenge employees, letting them know that they are capable of great things and can rise to any occasion. This type of trust and implicit encouragement is often enough to motivate people to do that which they though would be too difficult, while knowing that they have the backing of the company behind them in their efforts.
Furthermore, a leader will let it be known that he is not infallible. Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is likely to be inspired by someone who seems to be perfect and above reproach at all times. To err is human, and leaders who own up to their mistakes and failures go a long way with employees who want to know that at its most basic, their leader is a person like them, and someone they can relate to.
As project managers, we want to grow and learn to be better leaders and inspiring and motivate our team members. PMCAMPUS continuing education course include several leadership courses and one that is specifically dedicated to better your skills in the area of motivation in the project manager role. These courses will also satisfy the PDU credits you need to recertify for PMP and PMCAMPUS courses and are recognized and listed by PMI.