The Value of Leadership that Inspires: Next Generation Leaders Required
The strength of a company depends heavily on its leaders and their leadership. Successful business leaders have to be smart, hardworking, and able to get things done. But, often, that’s simply not enough to fuel a thriving business. Today’s companies require more than just intelligence and drive. As a result, more and more companies are seeking out and focusing on developing their ability to drive inspiration and motivation. And in modern business, whether a leader can inspire, motivate, and engage employees is what sets one leader apart from the next.
Inspiration not only leads to more engaged employees, but it consistently leads to increased innovation and business achievement. A company that can cultivate the skills that will inspire, motivate, and engage employees across the organization will gain a competitive edge in today’s marketplace. Why? Because motivated employees make things happen.
New Requirements for Leaders
Recent changes in the business world have reshaped the workplace, and therefore reshaped what’s required of leaders. Here are three key shifts that are happening today:
1. Focus on the customer experience
The move from product to customer experience is a major source of competitive advantage for businesses today. While companies will always need to deliver high value goods or services, high customer experience has become just as essential. Thus, customer-facing employees have tremendous influence on the success and future of a business. If employees feel inspired and engaged, they will then amaze and inspire customers.
2. Increased independence
This concerns the nature of the work itself. Today, increasingly more jobs rely on collaboration and independence. It’s become common in the workplace for people to collaborate across departments, do their work remotely, and manage themselves. People are expected to generate their own ideas, and take responsibility more than ever before. Being able to stay motivated and creative, especially with little supervision, requires both dedication to your team and passion for your job.
3. More millennials means = demand for meaning
We can’t forget the millennial generation. While the ways in which we work, and the work itself, have both changed, so have today’s youngest employees. Millennials’ value proposition is not related to traditional motivators. The millennial generation will work hard for a company if they believe in its values and purpose, not necessarily for a larger salary or better title. So creating inspiring and meaningful workplace for this generation is critical to attracting and retaining today’s top talent.
How do you motivate employees in an organization when the classic carrot and stick approach will no longer work?
In order to inspire and engage, leaders must energize those around them and create a climate of trust. Their leadership must extend beyond just their own team and be linked with a company’s strategy and overall workplace culture. While there is no “right” way or one way to be inspirational, these types of leaders tend to have courage and lead with authenticity. They utilize empathy and empowerment. And their leadership style flexes and adapts depending upon what’s required of them in the workplace.
To be a next generation leader, these are the key leadership skills to develop and practice:
Leadership is not a one size fits all. It takes time to learn and cultivate the abilities, strengths, and motivators of each person. Each person has their own style, motivations, and way of thinking. When you focus on the differences between individuals, you change from trying to build the “perfect” team to building a “great” team — one that will be more productive and engaged.
2. Focus on strengths
Cultivating someone’s inherent talents leaves people feeling authentic, valuable, and empowered. An inspirational leader has a good sense of his or her own self, and therefore, sets a good example by developing their own strengths and offsetting their own weaknesses. When people work in strengths-based environments, creativity and productivity increase. Everyone feels like they can do what they do best.
Having a sense of mindfulness promotes better overall health and workplace satisfaction. Being self-aware is the essence of leadership itself — being able to stay calm under pressure, cope with stress, and empathize with others. A leader must be able to reflect on their actions and revise as needed. Remaining open to new ways of thinking and interaction creates a required sense of trust and connection to other people.
Remaining resilient and positive in the midst of challenges demonstrates a sense of confidence and level-headedness. Leaders who are optimistic don’t just have a goal in mind, they have a strategy to achieve it, and the motivation to implement their plan. Optimistic leaders are able to inspire people to believe that the future will be better than the present. And furthermore, that they have the power to make it so.
Orienting people toward an aspirational future creates individual purpose and joy. When people feel relevant, they are more likely to participate and contribute. Proactively developing a culture of “you are part of something larger than yourself” creates a common platform for everyone to make unique contributions towards.
Lead the Employee Experience
In order to deliver a great customer experience, you must deliver a great employee experience. And understanding that employees are looking for more than just a paycheck and a “job well done” is the first step in becoming a successful 21stcentury leader.
In today’s workplace, the opportunity to be a leader is open to anyone who develops their inspirational skills and combines them with their own unique strengths, enthusiasm for the job, and authenticity. Valuing inspiration throughout an organization teaches everyone to be more aware, reflective, and empathetic. Ultimately, a team that reinforces the core principles of inspiration will have a competitive edge, and a more productive and resilient future.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.
Originally published at www.emotivebrand.com on August 2, 2016.