Did you know that you have a huge effect on motivation in the workplace? An uninspired leader creates teams that produce uninspired results. Discover the habits of the most motivational leaders…

It may seem like the most motivational leaders have an innate ability to get more from their teams. They know what it takes to be a great manager and how to inspire a team.

Figuring out new ways to motivate staff seems to come easily to them.

But what if we told you that motivational leaders aren’t just born that way? Most of them work hard to embody the qualities that can inspire others to success. They develop key habits that lead others to feel motivated just by being around them.

Simply put, becoming a motivational leader is something that you can train for.

It all starts with your own habits. After all, your people take their cues from you. If they see you exhibiting motivational habits, they’re more likely to feel motivated to work for you. These are the 10 habits that you most commonly see in motivational leaders.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #1 – They Listen to Employees

Every person wants to feel as though their manager cares about their opinions. They want to feel comfortable in communicating their ideas and feel confident that some action gets taken for those ideas. Even if the idea doesn’t get used, their manager still listens to what they have to say.

Despite this, a shocking number of managers don’t listen to their employees. They may ask questions and get answers, but they’re not really hearing what their people have to say. Instead, they’re so set on their own ideas that they don’t listen to other people’s thoughts.

That’s a fast way of dropping motivation in the workplace. If your people don’t feel like they have voices, they’ll stop talking. They’ll just keep their heads down and do what’s asked of them. All of the while, they’re coming up with ideas that they never share with their managers.

Motivational leaders listen to their employees. They want to learn as much as possible about their people. This creates stronger relationships that lead to innovation and great results.

motivational leaders

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #2 – They Communicate Often

Feedback is crucial to your people’s motivation levels. Your people want to know what they’re doing well and what they could improve on. They need recognition while also getting a sense of what they should do in order to progress.

Yet 69% of managers don’t feel comfortable when talking to their people.

There’s a disconnect that causes them to struggle in providing feedback. This leads to them avoiding opportunities for communication. Much like with not listening, failing to communicate leads to employees disengaging. They feel like you don’t care, which means they don’t care either.

Motivational leaders go in the opposite direction. They communicate often and with confidence. They articulate clearly, which helps their people to understand the direction they need to go in. Offering direction is one of the most important staff motivation tools at your disposal. Use your feedback sessions to ensure your people know what you need from them.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #3 – They Study Problems

Every organisation has its problems. But it’s how you deal with these challenges that separates you from leaders who can’t inspire their people.

You’ll often find that inspirational leaders have a habit of sitting back and studying problems. To some, this may seem like they’re taking a passive approach. But this is actually an important technique.

Studying a problem allows you to understand its root causes. As a result, you don’t react to the immediate issue that manifests. Instead, you look deeper into that problem to come up with a solution that has much wider implications.

Your people will see that you actually put time into solving issues and they’ll follow your example. They’ll feel motivated to apply the same levels of diligence to the problems that they encounter. On the whole, this leads to a healthier and more productive organisation.

When you understand the problem, your people have more trust and belief in the solution that you create.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #4 – They Promote Purpose

A survey from Imperative highlighted some important statistics about purpose in the workplace. It found that 48% of those classed as “baby boomers” prioritise having a purpose over their pay cheques.

That number does decrease as respondents get younger. But even 30% of millennials believe that having a purpose is a better motivator than a big paycheque.

What can you take from this?

It’s simple. The best motivators understand that they need to give their people a reason to work. The pay you offer only gets you so far. Your people will just do what’s needed to earn that pay if that’s all you offer. But an employee with a purpose has a reason to push harder and achieve better results.

Great motivators understand this. That’s why they have purpose-centric habits, such as having clear visions and providing defined goals for employees.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #5 – They Create Optimism

Everybody has days when they don’t feel entirely positive about what they’re doing. You may have a bunch of menial tasks to compete. Or, the project that you’re working on doesn’t inspire you.

For managers, this can lead to them showing a lack of optimism for their work. And as we’ve established, your people take their cues from you. If you’re not optimistic, your people won’t be either.

A motivational leader has the ability to feel optimistic in all that they do. This is easy enough when you’re working on something for which you have great passion. But it’s a bigger challenge when you’re working on a task that may not interest you.

The key is to think about what that task offers in the long term. How does it affect the organisation and its people? What will completing it open the door to?

Define a purpose for the task and it’s much easier to feel optimistic about it. From there, you’ll inspire optimism in your people.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #6 – They Challenge the Status Quo

Any manager can fall in line with the status quo. An organisation may have a set way of doing things. You may see a better way, but don’t implement it because doing so would rock the boat.

Those aren’t the actions of a motivational leader. People who know what it takes to be a great manager know that you need to shake things up occasionally. If something isn’t working well, you take the steps needed to correct it.

That’s a massive motivational force for your people. If they see that you want to bring about change, they’ll feel compelled to share their ideas with you. Moreover, they’ll benefit directly from the changes that you do bring about. As a result, they’re more likely to offer their support when you instigate change.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #7 – They Tailor Incentives

Every person in your organisation has different motivations. Failing to understand those individual motivations leads to your people disengaging. They want to feel like they’re working towards what really matters to them. That means they need managers who understand their goals and facilitate the achievement of them.

That’s what inspirational leaders do. They learn about their people and what really drives them. This allows them to tailor incentives to the individual, rather than the collective.

That’s not to say that collective incentives don’t have a motivational effect. But if something will benefit an individual directly, they’re more likely to work towards it. A motivational leader understands this and thus makes it a habit to create tailored incentive plans.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #8 – They’re Transparent

A shocking 58% of people say they would trust a stranger more than they trust their boss.

Now, think about how you react to people that you don’t trust. It’s unlikely that you’re willing to give your all to help them. You may even go out of your way to do as little as possible for them.

That’s how your people will act if they don’t trust you. As a result, offering transparency is one of the most important habits of a motivational leader.

Such leaders talk openly with their people and don’t try to hide important information from them. They don’t play people against each other and they’re always quick to inform people about what’s going on with the organisation.

motivational leaders

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #9 – They Set High Standards

The standards that you set for yourself are also one of your biggest staff motivation tools. If you don’t work to the best of your abilities, you’re showing your people what you expect from them. They’ll only work as hard as they need to because they know that you have low standards.

That’s why a motivational leader will always push themselves to achieve more. They’ve gotten to where they are on the back of their hard work. Once they’re in management roles, they don’t rest on their laurels. Instead, they keep pushing to raise the standards expected from the organisation.

This simple act inspires others to do the same. Their people follow their lead, which creates highly motivated and productive teams.

Motivational Leaders’ Habit #10 – They Confront Productivity Obstacles

Think about all of the obstacles that may hold you back from achieving something. Fear is often a big one. Self-doubt ranks up there, as does lacking the resources needed.

These obstacles may feel insurmountable to employees. Fearing what might happen if you push yourself and fail is a feeling that you’re likely familiar with. So is feeling like you don’t have the tools needed to get the job done.

Inspirational leaders have a simple habit for such obstacles. They confront them and break through them. They help those who fear consequences push past that fear. They reinforce the confidence of those who may doubt themselves. Moreover, great leaders provide the tools that their people need to become more productive.

Adopt the Habits of Motivational Leaders

Unmotivated people produce poor results. You can see this in the engagement statistics. A lack of engagement costs businesses an estimated $300 billion per year. Moreover, engaged teams offer 38% more productivity.

You need to become a motivational leader to get the most out of your people. That means developing key habits, such as:

  • Learn how to communicate properly with your people.
  • Become a problem-solver.
  • Create a positive and optimistic workplace culture.
  • Set the standards that you expect your people to follow.
  • Remove productivity obstacles.

Remember, a Great Manager can DOUBLE the capacity of their people.

Register for our next free webinar to learn more about the habits that motivational leaders use to get better results.