We all know that a company’s leaders should represent their best and brightest – those who’ve done so well at their jobs that they’ve been rewarded with entry to management roles and the c-suite. However, new research shows that once they’ve risen to the top, those lucky few are expected to excel at more than just what’s in their job descriptions.
IIC Partners, a global research firm, conducted a survey of 1270 business leaders over 6 weeks in late 2013. An overwhelming 68% of respondents said they wanted an executive who’s a motivator more than anything else.
That’s right! Companies are interested in high-level employees who are best able to guide their teams to greater heights by innovating, coaching new talent, and motivating the group towards a common goal. This result seems obvious when you consider that motivation is a linchpin skill for any leader – without it, you’re not a leader, you’re just the one in charge.
Consistent high performance did make the list of desirable skills, but was only rated most important by 26% of respondents. So, what happens if you’re really excellent at your job, but lack those oh-so-crucial motivational credentials?
1. Take the initiative
While you wouldn’t want to step on your own leader’s toes, you should certainly feel free to offer your skill and support to anyone on your team who may be struggling. And if you’re lucky enough to be part of a team with no room for improvement, try becoming a mentor. There are many volunteer opportunities that look to pair youngsters with someone older and wiser who can help steer their lives in a positive direction.
2. Get a mentor
For those who are new to the employment game, having a mentor can be an invaluable tool for fostering professional – and personal – growth. Sites like this one can help match you with mentors in your region who are looking for eager, fresh-faced youths to inherit their hard-won wisdom. A mentor can also help expand your professional network by offering introductions or providing a reference.
3. Do your homework
You can Google the heck out of the topic, watch related TED talks until your eyes go crossed, or sign up for a real-world (or virtual) class on the subject; the point is to find out all you can about motivating others. Countless online articles offer tips and techniques on how to motivate employees and it’s almost certain that there entire YouTube channels devoted to making you a better motivator. You have the resources, you have the power – go forth and learn!
All of this is not to say that simply becoming a better motivator will land you the job that comes with keys to the executive washroom. Becoming a great leader, like becoming anything, requires dedication to the practice of becoming better, as well as a depth and breadth of self-knowledge and awareness that grows daily. At first, it may be hard, but at first everything is hard. Keep at it, and all your hard work will pay off.