The single most impactful step to lead and motivate
Bad communication is the single biggest PREVENTABLE cost driver in the U.S.
Everyday you see and live how poor communication is a huge time suck, a catastrophic demoralizer and a massive cost-driver. Just think about all of the internal and client attrition, the many hours of wasted meetings and redundant work.
I see it all the time. I’ve been in rooms where $40M+ deals were lost (where the products were ideal solutions for the client!) because the well-meaning leaders were abysmal communicators.
To change the employee environment, leadership has the privilege and responsibility to foster momentum with an optimistic, encouraging and engaging environment.
At Tarah Keech Consulting, we coach our clients in the first key step of motivating their staff to deliver their best: choosing their own mindset.
As leaders, you make a powerful impression on your team when you choose to believe that people want to do good work. If your outlook is negative, pessimistic, defeated, or self-defeating, the only logical conclusion your team can make is that the work set before them is destined for defeat. BUT –
If you reflect respect for those doing the work and communicate with them from the assumption that you’re all in it for the win together, then your team will feel valued and in turn demonstrate their greatest performance in support of the team.
Secondly, there’s no need to be delusionally optimistic or perpetuate delusion in others. What a waste that is! Instead, it is a direct advantage to the engagement and productivity of your team for you to be a cautiously, well-informed optimist. There’s magic in training your team (and your own brain) to be success-achievers versus problem-solvers.
In your day-to-day execution you encounter detailed facts, historical context and many objective truths. Anything outside of that is an assumption and an opportunity to focus on achieving the ideal. For example, the next time your team raises a risk, respond and ask, “Suppose that did happen, what would be the best possible outcome?” Immediately you’ll shift the conversation from a worry-driven, problem-focused into an exercise creating the ideal result. It accomplishes the same contingency planning but the morale of your team is now lifted by the act of creatively contributing to achievement rather than risk management.
A third and key motivator you can leverage as a leader to elicit the best from your teams, is to demonstrate gratitude. When your teams and contributors know that the work they’re delivering is seen, valued and appreciated they are intrinsically motivated to continue to deliver exceptional work.
Praise in big, public ways and small discreet ways. Way better than bagels (although not mutually exclusive), you can say thank you to specific team members on calls. Note the contributions of each person within a presentation. Send a note or follow up email after successes or well-handled challenges. “Thank you” means you see them, you recognize the work they’ve done, and that their effort matters.
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