Nothing inspires so much as a positive example, and nothing demoralises and demotivates like a fat-cat boss sitting back and reaping the benefits of their employees’ hard work without a hint of recognition or reward. Leadership is not a passive activity – nor is it a simple matter of delegation.
The best leaders know that they have to be involved at every level of their business. While it is important to give employees freedom and the room to be creative and responsible within their roles, this does not advocate a laissez-faire leadership style. Passion is contagious. Employees who respond best to having freedom and flexibility in their roles are those with a strong, passionate leader providing an example for them. If your employees see that you are 110% committed to achieving success and making the vision you set out a reality, they will follow your example and work with you, offering invaluable support and providing an unbeatable resource for inspiration and ideas. If they know that you never give anything but your best and expect the same of them, they will rise to the challenge. If they feel that you understand their needs and value their input, they will want to give their all and meet their potential.
The only way to get all this from your workforce is to be right there in the thick of it. Listen to ideas, open decisions and plans up to discussion, give your employees time to work on personal projects, allow them to shape and define their roles and encourage creativity. But don’t do this with words. Do this through example. Be everything you want your staff to be and challenge them to meet you on your level. Sitting back and outlining your expectations, saying do as I say – but not as I do – will get you nowhere!