Leadership

Helping and Inspiring Hope Distinguishes Exceptional Leadership

Employees thrive when they are valued and have a path to follow.
Image credit: Willie B. Thomas | Getty Images
Psychologist, Author, Speaker

For leaders and corporations to excel, team members need to feel supported and inspired by the two all-important leadership ingredients of Help and Hope. It is imperative to long-term success that leaders get involved in the day-to-day grind with their team members so they are present to the ongoing needs for support and direction. When team members feel our presence on the sidelines of their career path, they feel supported and more confident about the underlying reasons they are working so hard for us. The net of it, is people stay in careers and under leaders when they feel their efforts are valued.

Help

Team members need to be provided with a direct and open line of communication with their leaders. When team members have this open line of communication, they have access to the support, help and advice they need to close deals, to meet their quotas and to be as successful as possible in their role.

Related: How to Lead Your Team Through Change

Listen: How can we really know what our team members are thinking about, what is troubling them, or how to help move them beyond their fears or performance slumps unless we take the time to listen? Productive help can only come from a leader who has enough composure to listen, rather than just demand. When a leader has the necessary patience to listen, they think more effectively on how to guide their team members into achieving the sought-after goals and objectives on the table.  

However, listening goes well beyond remaining quiet and giving team members our full attention. It requires us to be conscious of and genuine in our interest, body language, eye contact and mood. Leaders who listen create trustworthy relationships, which help to foster loyalty.

Exceptional leaders are wise to know that active listening is a full-time job when we consider the uncertainty embedded in the workplace for our team-members and the on-going changes which are consistently taking place.

Related: 6 Strategies for Being a Better Listener

Problem-Solve: Great leaders take proactive measures to avoid conflicts and address issues when they arise. Problem-solving is also what helps our team members to grow in their mindset, business intelligence and creativity when facing problems. When we put two minds together, we have the opportunity to learn from one another and new ways to reach a better result.

Effective problem-solving allows leaders to objectively analyze problems, identify the scope and severity of the issues, and what the impact of alternative solutions may be. When team-members have this objective person to work with, they work more effectively not only in their own role, but with their co-workers, customers, partners and suppliers.

Related: 27 Quotes to Change How You Think About Problems

Remove barriers: When our team members bump into hardships or obstacles they need their leader to get on board and suffer with them by helping them strategize to either remove the barriers they’ve run into all together, or to negotiate around barriers in novel ways. Great leaders know there is almost always a way to get around obstacles, and as they negotiate with their team members, team members become rich in their own learning in how to more effectively problem-solve in the future.

Related: 9 Obstacles You Must Overcome to Make Your First Million

Support: When team-members feel supported, fears are nearly eliminated. Great leaders set high-level, reachable goals. Great leaders make room for mistakes and support their team-members not to fear them, but to learn from them.

Whenever this type of support is present, team members feel valued and appreciated. With fears removed, team members perform at much higher levels and with more confidence and motivation to continue working hard to achieve their desired results.  

Hope

Exceptional Leaders inspire hope in their team members by providing them with a bigger picture vision to chase. Team members should have a copy of the mission/vision statement held by the organization, as they have the greatest chance of optimizing their success-potential when their values resonate with the mission of the organization and leadership they are working for. If team members have no hope or positive reverence for their personal and global mission in an organization, there is no valid reason to work hard. For people to have hope in the organization they are working for, they need to believe they can make a generous and impactful difference.

Related: 4 Companies Share How to Instill Hope in Employees

Acknowledgement: Exceptional leaders understand the best way to motivate their team members is to know their strengths and build upon them. When team members are acknowledged publicly or privately for their individual strengths it is often the exact boost that drives them into the hope for more.

Team members need to hear things such as “You rock” “You’re special” and “Good Job,” when it is well-deserved. Acknowledgment must not be reflexive or doled out to ease tensions. Acknowledgement should be reflective of  actual successes.

Acknowledgement is key to long-term success. Team members need constructive feedback, positive affirmation and recognition for the extra effort they put in. Acknowledge all their hard work and the resiliency to not give up when the going gets tough.

Related: The Importance of Recognizing Your Employees

Encouragement: Great leaders expect and accept their team members will have days where they need to hear “It’ll work out” or “It will be okay.” When team members have reached this point, exceptional leaders never underestimate the power of what their encouragement will mean. Encouragement offers the following: 

Encouragement gives hope

Encouragement uplifts and raises a person’s spirits and it decreases frustrations.

Encouragement fuels the passion to do better and exceed expectations

Encouragement sets expectations and helps team members evaluate their own worth

Encouragement strengthens self-esteem

Encouragement strengthens a positive work environment

Encouragement increases the hunger for taking calculated risks

Goals: Short and long-term goals are what team members need as their reasons to stay committed, motivated and hard working. Goals give team members a purpose, a clear direction and something meaningful to shoot for.

Leaders and team members alike benefit when they strategize together on what each person’s projected path will look like at the beginning of each new quarter. Leaders and team members must come to an agreement on what their quotas need to be, the number of new relationships they need to develop and how to make use of their individual strengths to make these goals achievable. Determining these goals each quarter is evidence of how deeply we believe in them, and how deeply they believe in themselves.

Related: There Is a Big Difference Between Setting Goals and Achieving Goals

Bonus/compensation: Bonuses, commissions, salaries, paths to increase earning potentials, and competitions such as making Presidents Club, give team members hope for their future, hope for their families and hope for less stress and more financial freedom.

Team members need to know how high the opportunity is for them to earn money so they can find the motivation to achieve to their greatest potential. Exceptional leaders understand the value of compensation and make sure to make earning goals and packages generous.