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February 2007 - Motivating Others: Lead the Way

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

February 2007

Motivating Others: Lead the Way

Each of the previous eight columns presented a step to motivating others: inspire confidence, demonstrate enthusiasm, ask “what’s in it for others,” delegate responsibly, help people learn from their mistakes, listen effectively, communicate openly and give helpful feedback. The ninth step is to lead the way. People are motivated by those who actually show the way rather than just tell how to do something.  Here are five ways to lead the way.
  • Share the vision.  Effective leaders establish a vision for the organization and then paint a picture, produce a plan and tell the part individuals will play in accomplishing the vision.
  • Trust others.  I have written elsewhere that “Good leaders find good people, put them in positions of responsibility and then hold them accountable.”  I would add: once leaders bestow responsibility on others, they should demonstrate trust by staying out of the way.
  • Be visible and accessible.  Although leaders should not get in the way of those who have been given a task, they must remain accessible.  Accessibility provides comfort, stability and encouragement to others.
  • Set the example.  Nothing motivates followers more than one who leads by example.  Actions do speak louder than words.  The great American poet Edgar Guest said it this way: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; . . . [It] is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.”
  • Lead by giving credit and taking blame.  Leaders who take credit themselves and blame others de-motivate them.  Those who take blame for failure and give credit to others motivate them.

Next month we will discuss the final and perhaps most important thing you can do to motivate others; That is encourage them.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

February 2007 - Motivating Others: Lead the Way
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