How can we create a work environment where our team feels valued, challenged, and empowered to do their best work?

In this discussion, we will delve into the critical aspects, approaches, and frameworks that can help you build a highly motivated and high-performing team.

Effective leadership requires the ability to lead leaders who themselves are leaders.

And who are these leaders of leaders? They are individuals who are capable of developing and nurturing leaders within their team. To move from operational tasks to strategic planning, enabling your team is crucial.

To enable and motivate your team, we present seven ways that can help you create a high-performance team. Let's take a closer look at each of these seven ways and explore their details.

What are the threads that weave your team together?

As a leader, it is crucial to understand the unique character, motivations, and expectations of each member on your team. Take the time to identify the shining stars, within your team who possess exceptional potential, performance, skill, and will. Once you have pinpointed these individuals, make it a point to ask them a plethora of questions about what drives them as team members.

To truly get to know your shining stars on a deeper level, consider setting aside exclusive time to connect with them outside of the office. For example, you could plan a dinner or sit down with them in the evening after work hours. It may also be helpful to take out three days per week for three weeks to meet with each shining star individually over dinner. This way, you can connect with all nine shining stars in just three weeks.

It's also important to give ample quality time to all team members so they can discuss their aspirations and expectations with you. This will enable you to better understand how to lead and motivate them effectively. Remember, a good leader isn't someone who can do all the work themselves flawlessly. Rather, a good leader is someone who can inspire and guide their team to achieve greatness.

What if your team members were volunteers?

The concept of treating team members as volunteers is rooted in the idea of respecting and appreciating their contributions to the organization. Unlike employees who are bound by contractual obligations and can be terminated, volunteers have the freedom to leave at any time. This is why it is even more important to treat them with the utmost respect and fairness.

One individual who understands the importance of this approach is a person who has had personal experience with a religious organization that relied heavily on volunteers to help the community. In this scenario, hiring and firing were not an option as the volunteers offered their services willingly and wholeheartedly. This is why it is crucial to build strong connections with volunteers and treat them with gratitude and appreciation.

In fact, the belief is that if employees were to work for free as volunteers, the gratitude we feel towards them would change our behavior towards them. When volunteers are treated with respect and fairness, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and community. This approach fosters a work environment that is fulfilling, productive, and harmonious. Ultimately, treating team members as volunteers not only benefits the organization but also creates a positive impact on the lives of those involved.

What wisdom lies in the art of listening?

As a leader, one of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to listen in order to understand. In fact, listening leaders are often considered the most powerful leaders in the world. Take, for example, the former Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. She became infamous for cutting down all listening opportunities, choosing to work only with her close-knit team. Unfortunately, this approach did not allow her to bring about much strategic change in the country at that time.

On the other hand, all of the top corporate leaders are known for their listening skills. They understand that listening is the key to building strong relationships and achieving success. So, if you want to become a better listener, one of the best things you can do is ask open-ended questions. These types of questions allow the other person to share their thoughts and feelings in a more detailed manner, providing you with a deeper understanding of their perspective.

To understand the difference between open-ended and close-ended questions, consider the following examples. A close-ended question might be "What time will you leave - morning or evening?" The person being asked can only respond with one word - either "morning" or "evening." Similarly, a question like "Do you like or dislike this topic?" only allows for a one-word answer - either "like" or "dislike." In contrast, an open-ended question like "What do you think about this topic?" allows the person being asked to provide a more detailed response, giving you greater insight into their thoughts and feelings.

When it comes to listening, it's important to understand the difference between listening for understanding and listening for answering. When you listen to answer, you're simply waiting for your turn to respond. But when you listen to understand, you're truly taking in what the other person is saying and acknowledging their feelings and experiences. This type of listening is much more powerful and can help you build stronger relationships with your employees, customers, and anyone else you interact with.

So, if you want to become a better leader and build stronger relationships, invest more in listening than in telling, especially in the early stages of your relationships. By asking open-ended questions and truly listening to the responses, you'll be able to understand the other person on a deeper level, which will lead to better conversations and greater trust. Remember, a listening leader is always able to generate trust, which is essential for success in any organization.

Who stands with you, in the light and in the dark?

It is crucial to be aware of your allies within the organization. In any given workplace, there will inevitably be both trustworthy partners and those who may not have the best interests of the organization at heart. It is important to recognize this fact and act accordingly. One important consideration is the power of negative messaging. Unfortunately, such messages tend to spread quickly and easily, while positive messaging often requires more effort to disseminate. A key strategy to combat this negativity is to identify and cultivate positive change agents within the organization. These individuals can help to spread positive messaging and build support for your initiatives. So, take the time to identify your positive change partners and enlist their help in communicating your message across the organization. By working together with your allies and building a network of positive change agents, you can help ensure the success of your initiatives and the overall success of the organization.

What is your guiding star?

As a CEO, it is crucial to possess absolute clarity and consistency in the directions you provide to your team. Spending ample time defining the outcomes to be delivered and the tone to be set is necessary to ensure that the outcome is achieved within the next three months. It is also essential to document these outcomes and ensure that every member of the team is aware of what they are working on. By clearly defining everyone's role and their top three goals, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Building stories around these outcomes is a great way to make them memorable. Over-communicating the outcomes is also important. Even if people get annoyed with the constant repetition, it is better to ensure that they are aware of what needs to be achieved. Remember, the more clarity and consistency you provide, the better the chances of achieving the desired outcome.

What kind of leader do they need me to be?

It is important to recognize that leadership should be situational and task-oriented rather than person-oriented. This means that the style of leadership you use should depend on the specific situation at hand. For example, if you are teaching someone how to cook, your leadership style will be different than if you are giving training to someone.

There are four main styles of leadership that you can use depending on the situation. The first style is the scolding style, which is important in cases of extreme disciplinary issues or any kind of offense, such as female harassment in the workplace. The second style is the sharing style, which involves telling someone how to do something without scolding them. This style is important when teaching someone a new skill, such as cooking.

The third style of leadership is the sensing style, which involves listening to someone who may be upset or distressed. This style of leadership is particularly important when dealing with someone who knows how to do their job but may be struggling with other issues. In this case, it is important to let the person talk for 9 minutes and only talk for 1 minute yourself.

The fourth style of leadership is the seeking and asking style, which involves asking someone who is highly competent for their advice and input. This style of leadership is important when dealing with someone who knows everything and can be a valuable advisor.

It is important to remember that you should use different styles of leadership depending on the situation at hand. You may need to be authoritative, suggestive, supportive, or corrective depending on the task and the person you are dealing with. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that a person may be a performer in one task and a non-performer in another. Therefore, you should deal with each person differently depending on the situation.

In decision, it is important to adjust and change your leadership style as needed depending on the situation. By doing so, you can effectively lead and motivate your team to achieve success.

Recognize employee contributions

Number 7 on our list of best practices for effective leadership is to ensure that recognition is given where it is due. It is important to prepare in a timely manner for effective recognition, as this can help to develop team spirit and foster a positive work environment. When recognizing someone's contributions, it is important to acknowledge the joint effort of the team in order to build a sense of community and shared purpose.

As a leader, it is crucial to understand that an effort that is appreciated tends to be repeated. Therefore, it is important to keep repeating words of recognition in order to maintain motivation levels. Just as we need to eat food every day to stay healthy, motivation is required by the leader every day in order to keep the team engaged and enthusiastic.

Continuing to recognize people and their achievements on an ongoing basis is important for several reasons. Not only does it increase emotional satisfaction and bring confidence to the individual being recognized, but it also fosters a sense of loyalty and commitment to the leader and the organization as a whole. By acknowledging and celebrating the accomplishments of team members, leaders can create a positive work environment that encourages growth, development, and productivity.