Your leadership strategy defines how you interact with subordinates. If your employees lack direction, feel disenfranchised, fail to meet productivity goals or have difficulty managing change, you can take action to motivate and inspire your workforce and improve employee morale. Effective leaders create a compelling vision of the future so employees want to be part of the solution not the problem.

Setting Goals

Using the participative leadership style, you include your team members in the decision-making process. If you include your employees in the business planning process, they typically feel more engaged. As you set goals for the coming year, ask for feedback from your subordinates. Employees appreciate it when their skills, knowledge and expertise are recognized. For example, when setting sales goals, get input from your sales force. This ensures the goals reflect a specific, measurable, attainable and realistic target.

Improving Morale

During difficult economic times, employee morale can decrease as bonuses and raises shrink. Effective leaders recognize there’s more to employee satisfaction than salary. Using the charismatic leadership style, you can motivate and inspire your workforce by creating a positive view of the future. If you show enthusiasm for taking on challenges, employees tend to respond in kind. If leaders behave unethically, show disregard for their employees or lack faith in their strategic direction, employees tend to look for other work if they can. Motivating and inspiring your workforce allows you to keep talented employee and reduce the costs associated with recruiting, interviewing, hiring and orienting new employees.

Improving Processes

Using the transactional leadership style, you focus on getting work done. Effective leaders clearly define roles and responsibilities so everyone knows what is expected of them. Leaders encourage team members to improve processes to reduce errors, minimize waste and improve customer satisfaction. Effective leaders recognize that people doing the work typically have the best insight on how to improve operations. By rewarding team members for their performance, this type of leader focuses on production. Team members motivated by external rewards such as bonuses and overtime pay thrive under this type of leadership.

Managing Change

Transformational leaders help their subordinates manage change effectively. They recognize that people experience change differently. According to leadership and change expert John Kotter, managing change effectively involves creating urgency, forming coalitions, creating a vision, communicating effectively, removing obstacles, succeeding with small efforts, building on success and implementing change throughout the organization. Motivating your team on an ongoing basis requires follow-through and commitment to change.