Maintaining employee motivation is crucial for any business to thrive. Business leaders play a significant role in providing clarity, continuity, and consistency, which are the keys to ensuring employee wellbeing. The question is, how do different leadership styles, organisational cultures, personality traits, and training impact leadership capabilities and employee wellbeing?
Leadership Is So Much More Than Theory
Thomas Carlyle’s Great Man Theory posits that leaders are born, not made, suggesting that leadership style and training do not matter. On the other hand, Herbert Spencer thought that leaders are products of their environments. This theory suggests that leaders’ behaviour and work environment directly influence employee performance and motivation. These theories may date back to the 1800s, but they are still widely debated today.
It’s up to business leaders to create an environment that fosters employee motivation and high performance, regardless of the economic climate. Whether an organisation has one employee or hundreds, a deeper understanding of leadership styles, cultures, and personality traits can help companies achieve sustained success and employee satisfaction.
While natural leadership skills are valuable, it is guidance, training, and nurturing that transforms potential into true greatness. Even leaders in authoritative roles require consistent support in sustaining motivational levels. In fact, the best leaders empower their team while ensuring their own ongoing growth and development.
There are many popular theories on leadership, from Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership to contingency theory, which suggests leadership style varies based on circumstances.
While elements from all leadership theories can be helpful, recent years have proven that agility and adaptation are key to success in business and leadership, particularly when dealing with employee wellbeing during periods of unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances.
Leadership Traits That Bolster Employee Engagement
Great leaders must possess versatile leadership skills to navigate diverse situations, personality styles, and skill sets. The natural potential is valuable, but it needs to be developed appropriately to maintain employees’ motivation. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership that works for every situation, department, team, or individual. Effective leadership requires ongoing training and a tailored approach to suit the unique needs of each person.
Leaders should adapt to suit their team and not the other way around. By doing so, they build better rapport, nurture stronger professional relationships, and foster a more inclusive team culture. With a wide range of leadership and human behaviour training, leaders are better equipped to tailor their approach and encourage growth and development.
The Role of Organisational Culture in Achieving Optimal Performance
Undoubtedly, culture plays a significant role in how well individuals perform together within an organisation. We all recall working in a negative or unhealthy environment at some point in our careers; it is through those experiences that we learn how not to treat and manage people appropriately. However, some individuals have mastered the art of leadership and organisational culture, leaving us asking the question: do great leaders derive from a great organisational culture, or is a culture formed by great leaders?
The answer is both. Albert Einstein famously referred to insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”; therefore, if your culture is not working, then it is necessary to do things differently to achieve better outcomes. Since culture is directly linked to employee wellbeing, organisations must ensure they pay attention to their cultural practices.
Indeed, many organisations nowadays prioritise employee wellbeing and include it as part of their employment packages. This puts the onus on businesses to adapt and step up to the plate; else, they risk losing key team members to their competitors. Adapting cultures takes time, but the results are always worth the effort.
The Importance Of Understanding Human Behaviour
As a Small Business Marketing and Networking Specialist, human behaviour is at the heart of everything I do. It is essential for business leaders to understand that categorising certain behaviours, which can be achieved using renowned personality models such as Myers Briggs, Disc Profiling, and The Enneagram, among others, provides the reasons why we behave the way we do.
However, it is not an excuse for destructive behaviour. I believe that each of these personality models provides clarity on certain traits, but all behaviours and emotions can be controlled or changed. To achieve this, leaders need to get to know their team members and identify when something is wrong so that negativity does not fester and escalate.
Creating the right environment starts with leaders focusing on themselves. Performing a training gap analysis will identify areas that require improvement, but it helps to gather feedback from employees regarding what they require from their leaders. In summary, businesses must adapt, change their cultural practices when necessary, and ensure they prioritise employee wellbeing to optimise performance.
Invest In Your Team
As a leader, you hold enormous influence over your team. It’s crucial to set an example of strong leadership at the top to ensure the productivity and success of your business. One powerful way to do this is by committing to the same training courses you ask of your employees. In recent years, when my team participated in a management apprenticeship program, I enrolled in an MBA program as well. The result was incredible: my team became closer and more productive.
Employee motivation is critical to the success of any business, but the approach must be tailored to fit the specific needs and personalities of your employees. Poor leadership and a negative work environment can create devastating consequences for your business’s success. Every internal aspect of your company will ultimately reflect externally, and in a competitive market, negative impressions quickly turn customers away. Effective internal marketing and keeping your team updated on overall business goals will help keep employees on side. Plus, it will help avoid confusion and negativity.
To create a great working environment and ensure your business’s ultimate success, strong yet flexible leadership must be employed. Investing in employee well-being now will also benefit your company’s future success. Without a strong leadership style and team culture, true employee wellbeing and loyalty is impossible to achieve. Despite its importance, employee training is often the first thing to be cut during times of economic uncertainty, despite companies expecting more from their employees during these periods. Remember, without care for your employees’ well-being, someone else will eventually come along and offer them a better opportunity. Make the decision today to invest in your team and reap success for years to come.
Tracy Heatley MBA, CMktr, FCIM, is an award-winning Chartered Marketer, Chartered Manager, and Networking Specialist. Tracy has 25+ years of marketing and networking expertise, and developed the inaugural tailored strategy model for micro-businesses, offering cost-effective solutions that ingeniously address their distinct challenges. A fervent advocate for micro and small businesses, Tracy Heatley's dynamic approach empowers them in today's competitive market.