What Leadership Styles Tell Us About Employee Motivation

October 4, 2019 Maggie Callahan

When looking at the 2008 financial collapse, there are some blaring red-flags that explain where things went wrong. Yet, rarely considered or recognized are the effects that the 2008 economic crisis has had on company culture and leadership styles today.

Underlying the environment of greed, politics and lack of process was the culture of strict control, lack of trust and a top-down methodology for initiating change. All companies maintained a closed-door policy and people-leaders were responsible for ensuring that goals were met rather than employee happiness.

This brings up the shift in the corporate workplace from the Managerial leadership style to the Visionary leader. Both are necessary to run and grow a successful enterprise; in fact, they depend on each other. Unlike 2008, the largest companies have started to put an emphasis on employee engagement, turnover reduction and perks knowing that their employees are their largest asset rather than a means to a specific goal.

So, what is the difference between Managerial leaders vs. Visionary leaders? And how do they complement each other in business?

Visionary leaders such as Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey or even Four Winds Interactive’s own David Levin are often strategic and innovative. These leaders always have a new idea and adapt to change quickly. Visionary leaders are critical to keeping company goals, especially ones that seem outlandish or unattainable, in a positive light. Visionary leaders are motivators and ambassadors of ideas and movements that can push companies to the next level, but often have difficulty with the actual execution.

Managerial leaders such as John Rockefeller, Martha Stewart and Richard Nixon tend to be results-oriented and extremely focused. These leaders base success on implementing new strategies and streamlining difficult processes. Managerial leaders are direct, logical and immediate. They are critical to delivering the ideas of the Visionary.

Why is it necessary to have both Managerial leaders and Visionary leaders in business? And how does this affect employee morale?

When innovative ideas need to be implemented, Visionary Leaders require the organization and structure of Managerial leaders. The Visionaries can continually remind process-orientated minds of the benefit to accomplishing the goal. The managerial tactic can bring the dreaming mind back to reality.

The leadership style that a person embodies directly impacts the motivation and engagement of their employees and can shift cultural patterns. A balance of organization and imagination is key. Here are some quick wins to help transform employee motivation and engagement by fusing both leadership styles:

1.     Emphasize and remain transparent about the strategic map for your company

Whether it is just one year or ten years, share the visions for the company’s strategy with your group. Some may be pie-in-the-sky (call those out!) and some may be aligned with an execution framework already (call those out too!) but this transparency will motivate your team by giving them a goal to achieve and room to wiggle.

2.     Celebrate small wins along the way

Sit your group down and talk about the success stories and recognize those who helped along the way. Increasing morale and reinforcing the ability to achieve the vision with a plan.

3.     Talk about contemporary trends

Invite innovative ideas even if you are a managerial leader. This may open your eyes to areas where you can question your employees about process and get them to think of execution on their own. The outcome is often the feeling of autonomy to assist in making decisions and better business acumen.

4.     Explain why

If you are a Visionary, it may be commonplace to throw your ideas into the universe and hope that someone picks them up to make them a reality. Start evaluating and communicating why you have developed this new objective and what you expect the outcome to be. Allow your people to give feedback, making them feel like they were a part of the process as it launches.

Regardless of the type of leadership style you demonstrate, you have the ability to impact the morale and cultural direction of your organization. For more on culture change within the workplace, ideas for empowering your employees and trends in the industry, continue tuning into #trendingnow every Wednesday. You can also follow Maggie Callahan on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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