Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > monday musings on leadership and motivation

monday musings on leadership and motivation

The ability to motivate is one of those traits that we expect in a leader; keeping the team positive, productive and, for at least short bursts, galvanised should be bread and butter to a good leader as should the ability to keep the team’s collective heads up when things are not going too well.

It is possibly in the latter aspect that we most often look to our leaders for inspiration for, as any spots fan will know; it only takes a few things going wrong to become a slump. Most sports are about general accuracy or the search for precision and when you miss a few heads can start to drop and the leader is expected to pick things up.

But how does the leader maintain their own motivation, for they need to keep their own flame burning, or at least appear in public to do so, regardless of what is going on around them. Keeping the faith is not an easy thing to do when things are hard, and I’m not talking about religious faith here, although those who have that are able to draw strength from it, but rather their faith in the abilities of the team and themselves to come through the bad patch.

Patience is one element, for the last thing that is needed is for the leader to panic or show signs of cracking and experience can help a lot with that in terms of supporting the belief that better times will return. Tough times are one of the areas where leadership is a very lonely place, but good leaders can play that to advantage and work on the unity of the team. Building a comfort zone founded on mutual trust within the team is a way that the whole team, leader included, can create a pool of strength that they can all draw from.

Good teams all share one characteristic and that is that all of the team can display leadership when the need arises; that moment when they need to stand up and be counted and it is often the lack of that spirit that shows through when a team fails. What is often apparent at such moments is that there is a fear of failure and the individual will go for the safe back pass rather than to take on the defender and try a shot.

A good leader will understand that people will often fail to achieve perfection, for we are all human and the vast majority of us only need to do enough to get it right on a regular basis. Where higher levels of accuracy are required those who are good enough to achieve them deservedly earn bigger bucks and only a few reach those pinnacles (sports being a good analogy once again). Developing your team so that they know where their boundaries are, helping them to push those levels until they reach their own peak and making them feel comfortable about those limits when they have reached them are all other aspects of leading.

There is a level of satisfaction about achieving these things and steering at team through good times and bad. Seeing people blossom and reach their true potential is a wonderful thing and it comes regardless of whether or not those people go on to achieve really great things because anyone who gets to be as good as they can be has achieved something really worthy. If they go on to be even better that someone who led them in their early days then that is great too.

That satisfaction is what motivates good leaders.

What are your experiences?

  1. February 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    An excellent article from John Bowen and a mirror of much of my experience. It’s tough being a good leader all the time but the rewards are evident when you need the team onside. I feel great satisfaction when I see people I’ve trained and led move on to achieve more, even when that is elsewhere.

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