8 Things the Smartest Leaders do to Motivate Their Employees

Sunny Samanta

31st Mar'21
8 Things the Smartest Leaders do to Motivate Their Employees | OpenGrowth

“Being positive in a negative situation is not naïve, it’s leadership.”


If you have been recently promoted to a managerial role, then one of the things you must have noticed is a certain number of people that will be working under you. Now, that’s one way to look at it. However, there’s another side to it, i.e., considering yourself responsible for all those people or employees working under you. It is like the two sides of the same coin. One is a reflection of the success you have attained, and the other is the responsibility that comes with it. The former does make your professional life comparatively easier, but the latter sets you up for potentially a far more successful career.

The reason for this is the leadership opportunity that comes with your new role. It is a chance to showcase that you are more than what your designation states. A rare chance that only a few amongst thousand gets to be in and earn the utter respect of their peers as well as become an inspiration to others. However, the path is the toughest to take on as it will be filled with most testing challenges, i.e., people or the employees working under you.


Leaders Motivating their Employee


Challenge Associated with People

When it comes to people or employees, the basic challenge that always comes with it is to get the best out of them. This is because not all people are the same, and their thought process remains constantly changing that often gets reflected in their work quality. And as a leader, you must know that it takes constant motivation to keep people performing at their best. However, the smartest leaders understand a bit more about keeping their employees motivated.

They know that positive emotions are the root cause of human motivation. It is what pushes a person to do their best at whatever role they are in. The smartest leaders are well aware of, and therefore, they have a different approach to dealing with their people under any circumstance. And in this post, I have compiled a list of 8 things the smartest leaders do to motivate their employees. You can check them here below and potentially practice them all to deal with any negative circumstances you are tasked with.


1. Have More One on One Conversation

Often a lot of people who are in a certain managerial or leadership role take to addressing a meeting to share any details with their employees such as what to do next, how things are going, if someone is going wrong somewhere, whether someone is having issues and so on. Now, this process of taking up the managerial role does work. However, the smartest leaders will have a lot to it. They will tell you to schedule one on one conversation with your employees every once in a while.

They would do that because they understand that not everyone can put across all their points related to any problems or issues that they are facing in a meeting full of dozens of people. Some people, irrespective of their talent in the given role, are just not made for situations like that. So, out of obligation, they do their best to coast along with rest. Therefore, the smartest leaders try to figure out such individuals and try to have a one on one conversation to sort everything out with them individually.


2. Praise in Public, Criticize in Private

When an employee is praised for their work, it fills them with positive emotions. However, when that praise is showered on them in the presence of their peers and other employees, it motivates them and perhaps some others as well to up their quality of work. However, the same doesn’t work when you call them out for disappointing performances in public. This is because, in most cases, criticizing an employee in public could be demoralizing as well as humiliating to them. This could have an adverse effect as opposed to your belief that criticizing employees in public will only force them to pull up their socks.

Also, this may not sit well with your other employees as well. As a negative emotion would creep into their mind asking them, “Will I be treated in the same manner if I fail to do my job properly someday?” This further may not augur well for your managerial reputation. So, what a smart leadership move would be here is to discuss all the shortcomings privately where you understand their reasons as well and come to a conclusive positive outcome from it.


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3. Figure Out Ways to Motivate Them

Since people are unpredictable and every one of them is built differently, it is obvious that they cannot be motivated in the same manner. It is just like not everyone has the same reason for getting up from their bed each morning. However, a commonality here can be drawn in terms of goals, aspirations, and interest that mostly wakes people up in the morning.

So, try to learn about your employment goals, aspirations, and interests. Use this knowledge to discuss their job and career role. This will help you in creating a strong bonding with your employee that again plays an important role in ineffective management.


4. Help Them with Important Resources

Imagine asking your employee. “What do you need to get this work done?” Now, imagine getting a response such as “I need these data and access to certain files to do this work properly.” Again, imagine this taking place in reality. Wouldn’t this be an ideal situation for both parties involved?

You helping your employee with all the essential resources creates a direct connection with the work your employee is assigned and then clearing all the needs to ensure that the outcome is going to be the best for business. This event will help you in staying a step ahead in getting the job done effectively. Also, your involvement in your employee’s work will just motivate them further to work well.


5. Teach Them New Skills

One of the fundamentals of working efficiently is to learn new skills to improve our quality of work with every passing time. And while some of us have that desire to learn new things on our own, many rely on their uplinks to teach them new things. This could be a small trick like how to write a meta description of an article or to use excel sheets more effectively. Teaching new skills adds a meaningful purpose to the work your employee does for you. It motivates them to do better quality work and simultaneously feel better about themselves as well.


6. Keep Them Involved

A sign of great or smartest leadership is to recognize that leadership is not a one-way street but rather it is multi-directional. This involves sharing your vision, ideas, expectations with your peers and employees. This helps in coming up with an effective strategy or decision with most of the possible issues that may come along solved effectively.


Recommended: How to Stand Out As a Leader in a Saturated Online Market?


7. Co-create a Purposeful Work Atmosphere

What makes for quality work is the purpose and meaning people put into it. And often, the purpose and meaning lie in the people’s personal preferences more than professional ones. This is more like a give-and-take relationship. If you help them with a more relatable working atmosphere, they will be motivated to work better. Therefore, try to create a work atmosphere that many people can relate to.


8. Believe in Them

This is the most important skill as believing in people has what kept the world moving so far. Despite the potential people have in them, they are bound to fail and underestimate themselves at times. In such times, a smart leader will always choose to believe in them to bounce back in comparison to others who may choose to berate them for their inefficiency. When people understand that you believe in them, they are more likely to get motivated by such gestures and will put more effort into doing better work.


So, these are the 8 things you can do to motivate your employees to perform better in their roles. Last but not the least, as the quotes state, “Always try to draw positive outcomes from any negative circumstances.”



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A lone wolf by definition, a writer by heart, and a lost star with ambitions to light up the dark both inside and around me, sometimes by immersing myself into books or video games or traveling with a backpack to an uncertain destination believing that life is all about the choices we make and we don't.


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