9 Top Inspirational Attributes Great Leaders Use to Motivate Employees

9 Top Inspirational Attributes Great Leaders Use to Motivate Employees

Are you one of the leaders who think that some employees only work for money? Do you spend sleepless nights worried that your good and talented employees might be looking for "greener pastures?" Do you wonder why there are employees with negative attitudes about your organization, its goals and expectations? Are you concerned that there are bright and talented employees who are less likely to share new ideas and/or are afraid of change?

In my more than ten years of conducting hundreds of surveys on what employee consider their leaders' strengths (or wish their leaders had), and makes them want to work under that leader, the findings are consist across industries and across public and private organizations.

Results are the same for sports teams and for church or nursing home employees, or for employees of corporate America, sports team coaches, church employees or nursing home personnel.

While vision, ability to communicate and trustworthiness top the list of desirable traits of great leaders, how they (great leaders) treat employees is what makes them great. Here is a synthesis of what employees consider the difference that separates great ordinary leaders.

  1. They care. A caring leader is far easier to trust, work with and communicate with honestly and openly.
  2. They embrace an optimistic view of their organization's goals. Their positive energy and ability to believe in possibilities creates the "we-can-do-it" attitude which is the engine for creativity, accountability, team spirit, and increased productivity. They dislike pessimistic views of life.
  3. They respect employees as individuals with ability to have vision, make good decisions, and act on goodwill to make their organization a successful one. It is respect that buys in other people's commitment to team success.
  4. They create an environment where people don't work because they fear being fired, but work because what they (employees) do matters and has a meaning from an employee's perspective. In such an environment, there is open communication, timely feedback, clear understanding of why things are the way they are and what is in it for everyone.
  5. They encourage new ideas and innovations by empowering employees to try doing things in different ways without the risk of losing their jobs. The fear of trying new things is the surest way to keep things as they are.
  6. They develop their employees professionally and personally at all times. The ability to maintain a healthy bottom line is made possible by people who have opportunities to broaden their knowledge and skills.
  7. Awards, giving credit where credit is deserved, and creating opportunities for employees' professional growth (promotion) speak volumes about the kind of leader you are. Great leaders understand that their own efforts are meaningless if employees are not clear about the organization's direction and are not recognized for their efforts.
  8. They know for a fact that 100% commitment in an employee's efforts, even if that employee is only 80% talented, is far more important than 100% talent that is only 80% committed. Total commitment guarantees expected results. Unpredictable commitment is guess work, frustrating and costly. You cannot make short or long term goals and set expectations with people who are not 100% committed.
  9. They make efforts to retain talented and committed employees with programs that don't destroy creativity or team spirit. Good people leave when they feel used, abused and ignored while productivity and team spirit suffer under un-thoughtful reward system.

  1. They make having fun an integral part of work. The key is to break down positional or turf boundaries that stifle creativity, commitment and teamwork. Having fun at work minimizes work-related stress. It can and does spark innovation and makes accomplishment of monumental projects possible.
  1. Their enthusiasm, creativity and productivity are the by-products of the work, family and personal life balance they not only practice but embrace. Burning midnight oil and/or having unused vacation times are what people who work do. But people who have life to live and do what they love have time for what matters in life.
  2. They don't treat people as things.


Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, a native of Kenya and resident of Idaho established Kituku & Associates in 1995 to provide new approaches for dealing with workplace challenges. He likens the unpredictability of change/challenges to life with water buffaloes that invaded African villages without warning, devastating social structures, uprooting the harmonious livelihood of villagers and leave them feeling insecure and stressed out. During chaotic times, people think that there is no solution for t...

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