Being in the military, but more importantly being a leader for 10 out of my 12 years of military experience, I understand the importance of motivating “employees”. Most leaders understand that motivating employees not only improves their way of life, but also increases productivity, and in the long run, benefits the company. Motivating employees is not necessarily a difficult task; however, most leaders neglect the techniques discussed in Mr. Weiss’ article due to their personal beliefs. I fully agree with Mr. Weiss’ article on building morale, motivating and empowering employees. His methods are especially helpful and used quite often in the military world although they are titled a bit differently.
Personally, I have used the methods Mr. Weiss describes in his article for as long as I have been a leader. As a leader, my philosophy has always been that in order to be a successful leader, you have to lead by example. I feel that Mr. Weiss expresses this point of view in his major means of motivating identification. As stated in the article, identification is “when a person adopts a behavior associated with others”. In the military, that is called leading by example. As a leader, you should want your employees to adopt your behavior. I do not believe that people come into a job wanting to make mistakes. Therefore, the tendency of an employee is to do as his or her leader would do. Therefore, as a leader, leading by example is detrimental to your gaining the confidence and respect of your employees. You must set the standards and enforce them.
Yet another idea Mr. Weiss mentions is to “avoid favoritism”. I believe that you must treat all people equally. Whether they are abiding by, or violating the standards you have set, you must reward them or reprimand them equally. That is not to say that the rewards and or reprimands should be the same for every infraction. I simply believe that you must be fair and impartial when giving rewards or punishments regardless of how long you may have known an employee, or what the employee’s position is in the company.
The military is famous (or infamous) for their use of acronyms. In the military we use acronyms for just about anything you can imagine. So, in keeping true to military form, I created my own acronym to remind myself of the methods required in motivating my “employees”. This acronyms helps me remember that in order to be a leader, you must “Be, Know, and Do”. Be responsible for yourself and your subordinates; Know your subordinates and look out for their well being; Do as you want your employees to do. The acronym I use is “BASICS”, because in leadership, you should always “stick to the “basics””.
B – Be a leader. When in charge take charge PERIOD.
A – Account for your actions and those of your subordinates. Know what you and your subordinates are doing or have done at all times.
S – Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. If a mistake is made, do not try to pawn off the results of your decisions or actions as someone else’s fault. Take ownership of the situation, good or bad.
I – Inform your subordinates. Try to talk to them everyday. Employees want to know what’s going on–knowledge is power. This way, you can ensure they fully understand what is required of them, solicit feedback, and provide encouragement if needed. Also, if an issue arises during the feedback always look into it immediately and get back with the employee.
C – Consistency is essential. Employees will work harder if they know what to expect from the leader. As a leader you must provide purpose, direction, and motivation. Ensure your employees know what they have to do, when they have to do it, and that you are going to support their actions consistently.
S – Sensitive leadership inspires success. You have to truly know your employees, and show a genuine concern for them, not only for their needs, but their families as well. I have always believed, “employees don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.
In conclusion, I believe that Mr. Weiss has an outstanding motivation improvement program. His motivational methods could offer tremendous results for companies who are having difficulty keeping their employees motivated. The bottom line is, in order to be a good leader you have to listen to the needs of your subordinates. A leader must “Be, Know, and Do”. Be responsible for yourself and your subordinates; Know your subordinates and look out for their well being; Do as you want your employees to do. And last but not least, always “stick to the “BASICS””.