Leaders, those people with the ability to get people to follow them, motivate others to accomplish organizational goals. By establishing a vision, leading by example and rewarding employees who achieve strategic objectives, you can get your subordinates to listen to your directives. Typically, leaders motivate others with words and actions that inspire them to take action. When difficulties arise, leaders find ways to solve problems, change processes and improve productivity.
Analyze your organization’s operations. Isolate the problems that need immediate attention. Solicit input from your subordinates by conducting interviews, focus groups or online questionnaires. Examine feedback from customers and vendors to learn about potential areas of improvement. Identify errors or defects that impact your organization’s success.
Establish trust by communicating regularly with your subordinates. Use meetings, email and other communication mechanisms to generate respect and improve overall performance. Subordinates need to believe in your integrity so you have to act in a genuine manner. If you want people to adhere to policies and procedures, you must do so yourself.
Run meetings and workshops to encourage employees to take the actions you want. Set up learning objectives to ensure you adequately communicate to participants what you want them to be able to accomplish on an ongoing basis. Once you confirm that participants have the skills and knowledge to complete tasks, set expectations that you intend to monitor operational productivity. Avoid implementing performance measurement programs without fully preparing your staff.
Set a good example. For example, if you want employees to complete expense reports in a timely manner, you must complete them on time yourself. If people see you following policies and procedures, they tend to be more likely to comply themselves. Employee morale improves and subordinates follow rules and regulations because they make sense, not because they have to do so. Show your staff that you believe in the organization’s strategic goals and objectives.
Choose a leadership style to fit the situation. An authoritarian style works when employees require explicit directions to perform a specific transaction that earns them a reward, typically their pay. In other cases, leaders emphasize that the constraints of the work, such as time and money, demand dedication to receive the rewards. Take risks if a positive outcome is likely. Subordinates want to feel included in any decisions. Empower employees or take a vote to include your staff in decision making.
- Changing Minds.org: Leadership vs. Management
- “Transformational Leadership: 92 Tips For Using The Different Types Of Leadership To Identify Leadership Traits That Uncover Your Leadership Strengths”; Gary Vurnum; 2010
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.