This Leadership Technique is the Secret to Team Performance

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As a business owner, you may be focused on profit and loss. Just as important as marketing the company and knowing the numbers that drive margins is the company’s foundation: motivating your team. Why? A McKinsey survey found that employee disengagement and attrition cost mid-sized businesses between $228 million and $335 million annually. In other words, even on a smaller scale, your company is losing money and inhibiting business growth by not properly motivating your employees.

Leadership and motivation go hand-in-hand. As a leader, your job is to push people forward to achieve the company’s goal. How you do that depends on various factors. As the CEO of Carbliss, I’ve never considered myself an inspiring leader. At least not in the way I have it pictured in my head — a Tony Robbins-esque figure standing on a stage, giving a long speech and firing up the crowd, that’s not me. And you know what? That’s okay. We all have our different strengths and weaknesses. Our different ways to approach leadership. Below are the key differentiators we use to maintain team engagement while also driving our margins.

Related: You Won’t Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

The secret to leadership through motivation

Many business owners spend years navigating leadership styles to find what works for them. Some become harsh bosses, dictating rules. That doesn’t work. Others become too close to employees, and they end up losing respect for them as the company’s leaders. Others look the other way and pretend they don’t see the problem. That doesn’t work, either.

Through my experience in business, I’ve found one particular leadership technique that works better than others. Using this approach has led me in the best direction – even though I’m not a charismatic type of leader. If I had to summarize my approach to leadership, it’s this:

Understand who someone is and use that knowledge to move them. Instead of a bold speech, help people move toward what they desire most in life. It’s subtle but profound. By recognizing and helping individuals achieve their aspirations within the team, we create an environment where personal and professional growth go hand in hand. In a way, I’m just there to remind them of their goals so they can hold themselves accountable.

Related: How to Motivate Your Unmotivated Employees

Leading by example matters to company culture

Of course, this culture of accountability starts at the top. Transparency has always been a cornerstone of my leadership style. I’m honest and upfront, and I will call you on your stuff if it’s necessary.

This honesty isn’t intended to be harsh. It truly comes from a place of caring. My team knows that I genuinely care about them and the goals we’re aiming to achieve. My commitment to openness extends to all aspects of our business, even during challenging times.

For example, in the early days at Carbliss, we lost significant amounts of money. I decided right away that I didn’t want to hide it. We laid it all out for the team, explaining that we had anticipated this phase and had a plan. By sharing this openly, we kept the team informed and helped them understand that the plan was to burn cash and that is simply another part of our journey, not a reason to panic.

This transparency built trust and reinforced the idea that we’re all in it together. It also created a culture of resilience, a trait that leads to another critical aspect of leadership: guiding teams proactively rather than reactively.

Driving a team to the next level

Motivation isn’t a one-time push. It’s an ongoing driving engine that propels people constantly. When the time comes for the engine to rev up, leaders need to be able to find what it takes to push their team forward.

To be an effective leader, you must ensure that everyone’s “cup is full” — that they have the resources, guidance, and motivation they need. You must be the one showing the way to success, not shoving them towards it. When a team knows their leader is invested in their success and well-being, their motivation and performance naturally rise.

Related: How to Improve Employee Motivation to Increases Your Profits

Hire the best leaders from the start

The most effective way to lead a team to success is to hire people who are already leaders themselves – individuals who resonate with your vision and values. As a business, every person you hire is an investment in your company in some way. It costs you money if you are not pushing your company forward with that hire.

We prioritize hiring hungry, humble, and smart people. These self-motivated individuals often require less external inspiration because their own goals and ambitions drive them.

Leadership still occasionally recalibrates direction. That’s expected. When you have a team that mirrors your ethics, leading becomes less about rah-rah motivation and more about guiding self-driven individuals toward a shared vision.

Effective leadership doesn’t have to be the kind of speech-making drama we see in movies or TV. There are other ways to motivate and inspire people. You don’t need to be an inspirational leader to still be effective. Find your confidence and succeed in a leadership style that suits your goals and objectives.

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