More than Motivation Seven Steps to Leadership Success

By Stephen Garber

Successful leaders (and coaches) are more than great motivators. They are mentors, teachers – and, yes, managers. They cultivate behaviors in their people that drive passion and performance. In my years of owning and running my own businesses, and having the privilege of coaching so many successful men and women, I’ve learned some of the traits that separate the best from the rest.

Lead by example

Your team notices when commitment and passion come from the top. If you want your team to go the extra mile, you need to demonstrate your willingness to do the same. Great leaders set the standard for work ethic. If you behave a certain way, you give them inspiration to do the same when it is positive. And permission to do the same when it’s not. What example are you setting?

Share the game plan – large and small

The “power of why” is paramount. A winning team needs to have shared purpose – to know the “why” of the organization and their part in it. When your team understands how their input, effort and results support the organization’s greater goals, they’ll be more inclined to go the extra mile and urge their teams to do the same. That needs to cascade down through strategy, business plan and individual objectives. Who gives more – the bricklayer or the artisan helping to build the Sistine Chapel?

Lead the person, not just the employee

Your job as a leader goes well beyond the X’s and O’s of skills and strategy. When you take an interest in the lives of your people, you’re better equipped to address their needs, help them grow, and cultivate a culture of excellence among your team. Meet them, know them and remember them. If you cannot do so personally, refer back to “lead by example.” Do it for your direct reports, and show them that it matters for them to do the same throughout your organization.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

All of the technical knowledge, vision, plans and even connections with your team won’t help you if you can’t communicate it effectively. Take time to understand how each member of your team learns and then tailor your communications accordingly. The best leaders are able to deliver both criticism and praise in a way that’s well received and taken to heart. And then do it again and again.

Keep your eye on the ball – you

Success is a moving target. To stay relevant, commit to lifelong learning and continuous improvement. Strive to develop yourself at a faster pace than your peers – it’s your competitive edge. Go to your industry meetings, your personal specialty conventions, and, sometimes, step out of that box to explore what other industries or specialties are doing. Did you know that drive-through banking came from fast food?

Be a game changer

Good leaders follow successful programs. Great leaders invent new ones. Creativity is key to your success as a leader. Remain open to innovative ideas and teaching philosophies. Stay abreast of the latest trends and technology. Take risks and drive change – or be left behind.

Stay humble

Every leader wants to win at the game of life and business. Remember that it’s your team that delivers, not you. You lead, they deliver.

Motivation does matter. Be a great visionary and cheerleader. And these seven steps will bring you outstanding business results.

Steve Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

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