When I was asked by HOME to write an article on how to motivate teams and more importantly, how to keep them constantly motivated, I was flattered but worried at the same time. Flattered because it is a great reward getting this request from HOME but also worried because I was not sure if there was any written recipe for this. It was rather a style of life, a style of management, a natural attitude. Putting this into words seemed a difficult exercise to me.
Be a “Psychologist” first
This is the main attribute you should have as a motivating leader, be a professor in psychology and even more, a serial and a mass psychologist. You have to understand people as separate individuals and at the same time understand them as one body, one organization.
Work on yourself, it is much easier than working on 3000 people at the same time. Be a good chess player and always plan three moves in advance. Be a positive manipulator, a mentor and a guide. Put your ego aside and learn how and when to use it. But this isn’t enough.
Be inspirational: Make them feel that with you, sky is their only limit.
Surprise the team positively as much as possible; give them the best image of yourself. Be an example for them and spread positive vibes no matter what happens. Act with conviction. Give a flavor of adventure to your mission. Expose yourself and show them that you trust them, make them feel that you have a personal relation with each one of them. Social media helps so much in this.
Be visionary: Give them clarity on your vision and plans.
Share your vision with the team. Gather them whenever possible and celebrate their successes. Be more of a Chief Vision Officer rather than a Chief Executive Officer.
Be down to earth: Be with them.
Make your team feel you are one of them, feel and share their concerns. Show them that you are ready to take risks with them and for them.
Encourage them, fight for them and make each one feel he has something exclusive with you. Reward the team personally and financially, make them learn from their mistakes and support them to achieve better. Be generous, they will pay it back much more. Expose them when they succeed and defend them when they fail, it will make them succeed for you.
Be an example: Act wise. Act mature. Be competent.
Put competent people and experts at your and their services. Say what you do and do what you say. Be a team builder, stick to your reputation, be tough when needed but don’t hesitate to change your opinion when theirs is better.
I learned this the hard way on the battlefield of business, when I had no choice but to use the strength and energy of every single person to make radical changes in my companies. I happen to be the Chairman/CEO of various companies, in various countries and various sectors, working with people from various social categories and various ages. I found it much easier for me to adapt to each one of them and to each organization rather than having them all adapt to me. Today, when I am asked what‘s my job, my answer is without a single hesitation: An expert in psychology, then comes the rest: a business man, a finance, legal, tax and strategy expert.
A confession is needed at the end of this article. HOME has always been my best testing lab for all my crazy ideas. From my wife and partner in life, to my daughters and my youngest seven-year-old boy, they have been the best testing tools for me. Being constantly inspirational at HOME (and after 20 years of marriage) has been my hardest challenge!