top of page

Effective leadership skills for inspiring and motivating employees

Encouraging employee performance involves more than just providing compensation and perks. The way leaders treat their staff can either inspire or demoralize them. Understanding the importance of leadership and motivation and how your managers can develop leadership skills is essential if you want to have your employees perform at optimal levels.

In addition to managing, great leaders encourage, inspire, and encourage their team members to perform at their highest levels. 

Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill, one of the world’s top experts on leadership, says star leaders aren’t born with superhuman capabilities. Rather, they tend to have intentionally put themselves in situations where they have to learn, adapt, and grow — a crucible for developing the tenacity and fortitude to motivate and guide others.

Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?

Being a great communicator helps. Naturally, you also need to be skilled at delegation, problem-solving, and planning. You must also be able to overcome obstacles that come your way.

The characteristics that truly distinguish exceptional leaders go beyond these abilities. There's an X-factor to exceptional leaders. The eight most crucial traits for effective leadership, according to Hill, are listed here, along with suggestions for developing them.*


"It's searching around the corner, exploring uncharted territories, and trying to understand what is feasible," consistent with Hill, who describes curiosity as a mindset. She goes on to say that first-rate leaders view people and groups from the "outside in." 

This indicates that they can view circumstances and troubles from the perspective of other stakeholders, such as clients or rival groups. As a result, they remember factors other than internal organizational dynamics and make higher-knowledgeable decisions.

Analytical prowess

According to Hill, effective leadership necessitates the ability to deconstruct complicated issues, find their underlying causes, and devise novel answers. It may not do to simply observe your instincts. Rather, you have to hone your analytical abilities by emphasizing cause-and-effect connections and paying attention to patterns and traits.

According to Hill, making sensible selections relies upon your capability to use your experience alongside an analytics and ethical judgment. While having a strong knowledge is essential for leaders, "being data-knowledgeable is more vital than being information-driven."


Motivating leaders are conscious of their own barriers. They find growth opportunities and which opportunities to prioritize. These leaders showcase humility, that can inspire others. Employees are more likely to want to work with people who are team builders.

By demonstrating self-awareness, leaders create an environment where employees feel valued and understood, leading to increased morale, productivity, and a stronger sense of connection to the organization's mission.

How to show up as your best self.

Understanding how others perceive you is critical for growth. However, Hill warns that asking for and accepting criticism can be difficult and emotionally charged. She suggests getting criticism at a moment when you can be honest without feeling defensive.

Begin with soliciting feedback from peers in low-pressure situations, gradually progressing to higher-stake events. Say something like this: "I'm attempting to understand my influence and the types of experiences I'm providing for individuals who work with me. Can you give me some advice on what I should continue, start, and quit doing?" Finally, don't focus on the negative and what you need to change. Instead, Hill suggests you "focus on the positive."

The difference between a manager and a leader

The distinction between a manager and a leader can be explained on several levels.  While a manager focuses on processes and tasks, a leader inspires and empowers others to achieve common goals through vision and guidance. Managers manage projects to ensure they are finished on schedule and within budget. They will not always devote extra effort to relationship development or other aspects that motivate the team to perform better.

Leaders, on the other hand, often have a broader perspective on their teams. A leader is someone people want to follow.  Employees trust their leaders to guide them in the correct direction and provide help along the way. Leaders are enthusiastic about their work, care about their colleagues, and try to get the best results.

Leaders communicate a sense of purpose and ownership.

Managers help people achieve their performance goals, but leaders go above and above to ensure that employee and business goals are aligned. This offers employees more meaning by allowing them to perceive their part in achieving corporate objectives.

A strong sense of purpose and ownership can be an effective intrinsic motivator. Employees who understand how their job contributes to overall success are more engaged and satisfied with their daily task list.

Leaders promote intrinsic motivation.

Managers can inspire their teams with external reasons like remuneration or extra time off. Leaders take a different approach: rather than depending solely on extrinsic motivation, they encourage people to perceive their work as a reward.

Leaders may inspire staff to work harder to assist their colleagues or to push themselves beyond their comfort zone to achieve large goals. Recognition and appreciation from leaders can also instill confidence and pride in staff, inspiring them to achieve their goals.

How to motivate others as a leader

The core characteristics of motivational leaders are most effective when combined with deliberate, motivating behaviours. Prioritize these actions to motivate your staff to do their best.

Encourage values-driven work.

Effective leaders can help employees understand the company's principles and how their work contributes to overall goals. When employees appreciate the importance of their efforts, they are more likely to be motivated and satisfied with their work.

Hold individuals accountable.

Accountability may be a effective, especially when people respect their leader. When employees anticipate guidance and support from their leaders, they take on more responsibilities at work.

Leaders foster a sense of ownership and pride in their staff by holding them accountable for their work.

Recognize effort and success.

Leaders understand that work is about more than just getting outcomes. Recognizing the efforts of employees not only acknowledges their contributions but also cultivates a culture of appreciation, fostering motivation, loyalty, and a sense of belonging within the team.


When every team in your organization is highly motivated, their passion and purpose drive momentum and produce greater results. Tap into leadership motivation to get the most out of your employees and power your company with higher engagement.

Recognizing employee efforts fosters motivation and loyalty by acknowledging contributions and nurturing a culture of appreciation and belonging within the team.



bottom of page