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THE term motivation is from the Greek word, "Kino", meaning to "move" or "propel". It is a powerful force that can move any individual from zero to hero. Its effect can be so contagious such that someone who once thought he can never make it in life suddenly realizes that "he can" when hearing a motivating word from someone who was once a failure but later became successful. That is the power of motivation. Newton's first law of motion says that, "Every object assumes a state of rest until an external force is applied to it." That external force can be likened to "motivation" while we are the "object" in question.
We all need motivation to begin, and to begin is to win. As Jim Ryun puts it, "motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going." You can never form the habit of doing anything which you are not motivated to do in the first place. So motivation is the ignition key that awakens the engine in you. Once that engine starts running, it never stops except by your permission.
The great challenge is that a lot of us find it difficult to get started. We are so secured in our comfort zone; not willing to take a risk or face any hazard. T.S. Elliot said, "Only those who risk going too far can possible find out how far they can go." You never know what you can do until you try. As Zig Ziglar said, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started". Life is a daring adventure and it takes daring people who are internally motivated to move out and achieve great success.
A motivational leader is someone who is internally motivated not only to motivate himself but takes it as a responsibility to motivate others. As a manager, supervisor, and CEO of an organization, you are a motivational leader and your employee's motivation should be your utmost concern and responsibility. But you must first be motivated in other to achieve that great objective of motivating them.
As a motivational leader, your starting point to motivational leadership is to begin seeing yourself as a role model, seeing yourself as an example to others. See yourself as a person who sets the standard that others follow. Many business managers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs are not aware of the effects that motivation can have on their business, and it is therefore important they learn and understand the factors that determine positive motivation in the workplace. Lee Lacocca said, "Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people". Therefore, as a leader, you should understand that the influence you have on your sub-ordinates help boost their morale in putting their best at work.
A healthy leader motivates rather than demotivate. They always seek to focus on achieving their organization's primary mission by raising the energy and momentum of their followers to work towards achieving the same goal. The question is: what are those qualities that motivational leaders possess that enables them to increase the energy of their people in boosting productivity at work? Let us examine a few of such qualities:
They know the personality of their Team: As Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors once said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success". Motivational leaders at workplace are really amazing in the sense that they understand the personality of their team members that helps "keep together" as a team in achieving sustainable progress. Research has shown that employees respond well to recognition, rewards and incentives at workplace. And majority of them value relationships and respond to an open, social atmosphere to be able to work well. As a motivational leader, you are the initiator and your people looks up to you to nurture the atmosphere of good working relationships.
Set the Example: Motivational leaders recognize that their positive lifestyle is a source of motivation to those they are leading. For this reason, they strive to set an exemplary lifestyle that others emulate. They know that their actions are closed examined by those they lead and one wrong signal from them could lead to loss of their credibility.
Communicate vision for the future: It has been said that vision is the crystal clear mental picture of a desirable future we hope to see. In other words, your vision is your future. As a motivational leader, your followers will follow you to the degree you guide to the desirable future. No one wants to follow a blind leader who cannot see beyond his environment. And followers are disposed to knowing when you are incapable of leading them when they begin to feel the uneasiness of being in one spot with no future in view.
Empower others to lead: As a motivational leader, your commitment to developing leaders will insure ongoing growth to the organization and to people. Realizing that people are your most valuable asset, and that providing the opportunity for their growth to becoming effective leaders is not an option but a necessity, should be a top priority in your agenda as a motivational leader.
Look beyond the followers' weaknesses: Throughout life, we acquire abilities and skills that help us to reach our goals and fulfill our purpose in life. We also have underdeveloped areas or weaknesses that need improvement. A motivational leader does not reprimand his followers when they fall short in their ability but rather encourage and sharpen them to braze up in their area of weaknesses. As a leader, he helps position them to play to their strength so they can achieve more and better themselves.
Reward and Appreciate Accomplishments: The motivational leaders understand that to keep the employees motivated, they need to be appreciated and rewarded for good behavior and for tasks well performed. Things like thank you "John" for carrying the assignment well or sending a short message through email or better still pasting on the notice board the outstanding employee of the month is highly recommended to push the employees' productivity.
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