One of the most important tasks as the leader of an organization is to inspire and motivate your team. How can you do it? Lead from the front. You have to get out, roll up your sleeves and be an driving force within your company. Good leaders genuinely care about their people, products and services. They want to serve as an instrument for the organization’s success, not a drain on resources and morale. Here's key 5 tips to help business owners, managers and employees improve their ability to lead from the front:
- Be a visionary who inspires your team. Create and communicate a clear and compelling vision for your team – something that inspires them to join you on a “quest.” Without an uplifting vision, the only thing motivating your people is their paychecks and employee benefits. Make no mistake: a properly compensated workforce is essential. But money can’t buy inspiration or dedication. Only visionary leadership and positive guidance (as opposed to bossing people around) inspires people to go above and beyond. Your job is to be the visionary leader who inspires others and builds team spirit. To do this, you have to take ownership of the leadership position and embody it.
- Set the proper tone and example. In prior jobs I’ve known leaders and managers who were detached, absent or just plain uninspiring. They lacked energy and enthusiasm. Some had a “clock-puncher” attitude. They didn’t seem to like their jobs. A good leader has to radiate energy and enthusiasm. He or she must set a positive, forward-looking tone that energizes everyone in the company, inspiring them to get excited about coming to work; encouraging them to become almost obsessive about innovating and solving problems.
- Be willing to do any job. It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. You should know how to do every job at the company to demonstrate that you’ll never ask others to perform a task you’re unwilling to do yourself. Though you shouldn’t neglect your primary responsibilities in order to answer the phones all day, there will be times when you should don another “hat” to boost morale or pitch in during a crisis. There are days when I take customer service calls or help people do their jobs – not to show them up, but to chip in when I have the time. I’m willing to take out the garbage and change the water bottle in the cooler. I want to demonstrate that I’m not too good to do something. Suggesting that you’re “above” certain types of work sets a bad precedent. It communicates to people that their contributions aren’t especially valuable
- Show that you care about your people. Take the time to stop by employees’ desks. Ask them questions, listen to them, and solicit feedback. In sum, take the pulse of your company on a regular basis. Don’t lock yourself in the C-Suite, interacting only with other executives. It’s important to learn what every one of your staff members is thinking and feeling. To do this, you must project an image of approachability and actually be – someone who wants to hear how employees are doing and what you can do to make their jobs better.
- Show you care about your products. You need to care about the quality of your products and services – and show it. Naturally, there are things you can’t control. Problems arise; mistakes are made; employees are only human. Still, you have to find ways to overcome obstacles to preserve and enhance your company’s reputation. This means demonstrating to employees and customers that you care about ethics and honesty. If you don’t care, it’s going to show, regardless of how often you say that you care.
It’s said that if you lead from the front, you’ll be the first to get hit, but in my opinion, there’s no better way to inspire the troops. Leading from the front means taking responsibility for, and ownership of, problems and potential solutions. Even when times are tough and others abandon to cause, it means you stay strong for everyone else. It also means committing yourself to being the high-energy visionary who will inspire everyone to make the company as successful as possible.