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Five ways to effectively lead and motivate in the new normal

This year has certainly been memorable — and perhaps not what many hoped it would be. Looking forward, how can leaders effectively show up to motivate their people? Not to just function and survive, but flourish in the workplace?

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The pandemic and a number of other historic events have drastically shifted how we live and work — and not necessarily on a temporary basis. Humans thrive on social interaction, so it’s no wonder many organizational leaders have reported that the uncertain and rapidly changing environment has caused them and their teams and to hit a proverbial wall.

In crises, your employees will look to and trust leaders for direction. Here are five ways to motivate your employees as you navigate uncertainty and pave the way for success:

1.     Revisit your values to form consistent and clear communication

Your company values form the foundation and directs how employee contributions add to the big picture. When things get tough, revisit these key words or statements to reiterate the purpose of why you’re in business. This reminder will reinstate a sense of identity to clarify your action plan and the vital tasks to keep your business going.

2.     Readily accept reality

Radical acceptance postulates accepting life ‘just as it is’ and not ruminating about what you can’t or choose not to change. The exercise revolves around looking at the facts from a different angle and positively interpreting challenges to expand your possibilities. It’s difficult to accept what you don’t want to be true but it’s pertinent to accept your current reality and emotional upheavals in order to move forward with a plan. As a leader, this will also humanize you to your workforce.

3.     Create a culture of receptivity

As Winston Churchill once said “Speech is silver and silence is golden”.  One of the biggest human needs is to be heard . The art of good listening is an essential ingredient for leaders. During online town halls or staff calls, invite and share suggestions. Also, know that it’s okay to say that you don’t have all the answers. This continues the flow of information even when you don’t have answers about what comes next.

4.     Normalize being human

A leader that can acknowledge that they are human and feeling 2020 just like everyone else will better be able to motivate and lead their team. This admission doesn’t diminish your capability to step up. If anything, it conveys that you are open to accepting and providing assistance wherever needed.

5.     Celebrate success

In his book ‘The Happiness Advantage’, Shawn Achor shares the science that it takes approximately three positive interactions or experiences to counter the effects of one negative event. We can sometimes focus more on what we wanted to achieve versus the bonus achievements or unexpected successes. Instead of dwelling on what didn’t happen, stop and smell the roses — they are there. (Promise.)

Maybe you didn’t hit certain 2020 targets, but what have you achieved from your pandemic pivots? Higher customer satisfaction survey results? Safe and successful transition to becoming a remote workforce? Improved online capabilities and engagement for both employees and customers? To better motivate and engage employees, it’s imperative to acknowledge the small wins and successes and celebrate the victories along the way!

This year has underscored the need for clear communication, embracing reality to better maneuver the journey and the relatability receptivity of leadership. This combination is a tried and true path to better engage and motivate teams. After all, leading is achieving more together than we can alone!


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