Motivation is one of the key ways for managers to get the most out of their employees. After all, one of the most referenced quotes for leadership is, “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it,” by Dwight Eisenhower.
I’m sure you understand how motivation helps make employees more productive, which in turn positively impacts the bottom line. Now, are you also working to make sure you, yourself, are motivated?
Sometimes managers can be so focused on managing their own employees that they completely forget about self-management, which is crucial in itself.
Let’s face it; you will certainly encounter obstacles in your efforts to make changes in your organization. The consequence of poor coping skills will invariably lead to lost opportunities to be effective. An inability to cope with stress will not only cause personal unhappiness, it can also make you ineffective as a leader.
You might not even realize how you present yourself to you direct reports. These blind spots can really be a road bump in your career. For instance, you may believe you handle a crisis pretty well, relatively speaking. But your direct reports might view you as overwhelmed in crisis situations and fail to identify the core issues of the problem.
A big issue with this is that your emotional or unmeasured reactions may actually provoke additional problems for the organization while also communicating that conflict should be avoided or denied. This is when a healthy dose of feedback sure comes in handy.
Remember that successful leaders are open to feedback about their actions, whether it is positive or negative. They respond to the feedback and use it to improve their performance, or change course when necessary. Leadership always involves being sensitive to the needs of those who agree to be led.
Here is the cold, hard truth – If you’re not open to feedback about your skill sets, you’re probably perceived as being defensive, arrogant, or fearful of looking at your shortfalls. No matter what the reason, shutting out the observations and perceptions of others limits your growth and development.
Think about a time you gave feedback to your direct reports. You did it to help them, not hurt them. The same will be true for you when you receive feedback. Remember, problems that are addressed early can be more easily resolved than those that are identified later.
Here are some developments tips to keep in mind:
- Evaluate how you view people who disagree with you. Do you try to understand the basis for their views? Do you ask questions respectfully? Do you work toward mutual understanding, or simply try to convince them that you are right?
- When you make a decision, get into the habit of considering the impact it will have on the people affected by it. Sometimes you may determine that a decision has a higher cost than it is worth, in terms of its impact on people. Other times, you may make the same decision, but you will know you need to reduce its negative impact.
- Recognize that timing is important. Your message might be the right one, but it won’t be well received if it is delivered at the wrong time. Before delivering your message ask yourself: “How will others feel if I say that?”
- As a leader, you have many opportunities to give people feedback. In addition to giving feedback, solicit feedback from your group members about how you can improve your own performance. Listen carefully to what was said, and thank people for taking the time to give you feedback.
- Always remember to thank people who give you feedback. Giving feedback is nearly as stressful as receiving it. A person who gives you feedback, whether it is positive or negative, is giving you a gift; make sure you acknowledge the gift.