There are leaders who yell often and have poor emotional control. There are leaders who threaten consequences and intimidate often. There are leaders who are just there and really do nothing at all. There are also leaders who inspire others to perform work. More frequently however, managers like to focus on what’s wrong and vocalize the issues publicly with intimidation. Managers feel justified and effective because in their mind, “they’re taking care of business”.
Frequently, when managers are “taking care of business”, the feedback includes heavy doses of guilt. It’s like the football coach during a game berating a player who screwed up his assignment. As the player runs to the sideline, he’s greeted by an emotional and abusive coach who’s yelling so hard his veins are popping out of his neck. Managers yell like this as well but are they attempting to correct and influence work or just selfishly expressing their feelings?
Managers who yell and berate staff are only minimally effective. It’s a short-term management behavior. I call it short-term because it delivers short-term results. Employees perform work behaviors because they’re threatened and do it to avoid consequences. Eventually however, they will quit and leave the threatening environment causing the manager to constantly battle turnover and new training costs. Managers like this create hard feelings, increase costs, and eventually drive away revenue because customers can feel the tension.
Inspiration is defined as “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create: a force or influence that inspires someone” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inspiration). The “something” that makes others want to perform looks like the following characteristics:
- Employees who observe a manager handle situation after situation with the same effort, resolve, and strategy that’s respectful and effective inspires others.
- Showing your staff how much you care about results and about people in a positive and respectful manner can be inspiring.
- Know the job. Employees watching a leader ply their trade effectively and seeing great results can be inspiring.
- Be challenging. Challenging your staff can be fun but also lets your team know you believe in them and what they can achieve.
- “Make people feel good about themselves. People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Start noticing what you like about others and tell them. Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to excel.” (http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/02/13/18-ways-to-inspire-everyone-around-you/).
- Share stories. Talk about lessons learned, both positive and negative, so the team can relate to what you’re saying. It demonstrates vulnerability which is admired and inspirational to your staff.
- Share an inspiring vision. Communicating what effective behaviors and results can look like with detail to your staff, and allowing them to see the vision is inspirational.
- Thanking your staff and letting them know how much you appreciate their effort is inspiring.
Inspirational leaders are few and far between and hard to see because they operate behind the scenes and let the staff stay out-front and get credit for everything right. You won’t hear inspirational leaders berating staff in public. You may hear them encouraging staff in public and you will definitely feel an environmental difference since employees are wanting and looking for ways to perform the job and take care of business.