An important role for a leader is motivating employees to do the best job possible. There are many ways a leader can motivate employees, and many of them do not require additional monetary compensation.
Sometimes motivation is brought about through creative means. The Container Store, a Dallas-based retailer, offers its employees free yoga classes, a personalized online nutrition diary, and a free monthly chair massage. These techniques help relieve employee stress and make workers feel appreciated. The company has ranked near the top of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For since 2000.
Open communication is also a key to motivating employees. When employees feel that they will be listened to and managers openly discuss matters with employees, a trusting relationship is created. At Harley-Davidson’s headquarters executives don’t have doors on their offices, creating an open, trusting environment.
Another method to motivate is to ensure that employees are matched up with the right job. It is the leader’s job to learn what employees’ abilities and preferences are and match them accordingly to tasks that utilize their skills and when possible match with their preferences.
If a leader is a good role model, showing enthusiasm for his or her work and pride in the company, this will positively affect employee motivation.
At W. L. Gore, a salesperson’s motivation will come from the approval of his or her peers. Compensation is based on rankings by the sales team members. Further, the company bases monetary rewards or bonuses on long-term growth and customer retention, unlike most companies that base bonuses on the bottom line. Gore also presents a Proud Octopus award trophy to employees who have performed “special achievements” during the quarter.
A corporate culture is the system of beliefs, goals, and values that an organization possesses. Many aspects of an organization influence the corporate culture including workplace environments, communications networks, and managerial philosophies.
Strong cultures cause employees to march to the same beat and create high levels of employee motivation and loyalty. Corporate culture also provides control and structure to the company.
Having a strong corporate culture is not always the key to an or-ganization’s success. If the corporate culture is an obstacle to change, it can hinder a company’s performance and ultimately its success. A mis-directed culture can lead employees to strive for the wrong goals.
Leadership and Culture
Leadership style is extremely important in an organization, as it often affects the organization’s culture. Which style of management is right? It depends greatly on the type of organization and on the top management within the organization.
If managers are strong leaders, their style of leadership often predominates throughout the different levels of management within the organization. The leadership style is then responsible for creating the culture of the organization. There are good and bad hallmarks for leadership within an organization. If the corporate leadership style is deceptive, then often the management culture within the organization will be deceptive. The same would hold true if the leadership was ethical.
It takes a strong leader to create a lasting culture within an organization. For ordinary leaders it can take years to shape the attitudes and environment; only an extraordinary leader is capable of making revolutionary change.
Characteristics of Successful Corporate Culture
Here are some examples of characteristics of successful corporate cultures. By no means is this list exhaustive.
Caring. This involves employees taking responsibility for their actions, caring about both the customer and the good of the company. It creates high-quality customer service and a positive atmosphere in which to work.
Challenge. If the CEO of a company states that employees should “think outside the box,” but then squashes ideas because of their perceived chance of failure, a contradictory environment is created. In this type of situation, a challenge to conventional thinking and performing causes employees to fear losing their jobs; creative employees will leave and a culture of yes-men will be created.
Risk. A successful company will be able to manage risk and even turn it into a strategic and profitable advantage. It involves paying attention to reputation and earnings. Employees must anticipate the consequences of their decisions and actions. This type of risk management can add significant shareholder value.
Ethics. Often ethics can be the glue that holds the culture of an organization together. An effective leader should create a written ethical code for the organization. This code of ethics should not only be en-forced but continuously reinforced. The employee’s ethics should serve as a standard by which performance is evaluated.
Focus. There is a saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” A leader has done his or her job well if the managers have a sense of continuity, if they know where the company or organization is heading. If managers feel that the direction of the organization is decided on by which way the wind is blowing
that day, goals will not be met. It is important for employees to know where they are going and what they should be achieving, and it is the job of the leader to define this for them. The leader should always know where he or she is going at all times.
However, this does not mean that a leader should not be willing to change. In fact, a leader should be an agent for change, because stag-nation does not often lead to success. It is important that while being accepting to change a leader is able to align employees with goals.
Trust. Mutual trust is an important hallmark of effective leadership. Management should trust the leader and the leader should trust management. It is important to note that micromanaging can kill the trusting culture. When employees come to trust one another, it creates a team environment, where everyone is working for the common goals of the organization.
Merit. Organizations often meet their goals by rewarding employee performance based on merit. Merit systems create fairness and help to further foster a team environment.