From the very distant ages people congregated around the strongest, the most success-ful representatives of human beings. These groups had their specific goals as survival. Group leaders built the strategies and planned the groups' activity, turning them into teams. People fol-lowed the leaders until their interests matched the goals of the whole team. The team leader needed to find different ways to keep the team members engaged and interested in achieving the common goals.
Motivation and leadership are two eternal topics in management studies. Motivation is a goal-oriented feature that helps a person achieve certain goals. Motivating workers is a critical leadership feature. Motivation converts employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities into power to achieve the higher level of performance by determining the direction, intensity, and duration of work-related relationships. An executive must have the right leadership traits to af-fect motivation of the team members. As a leader, one should keep an open mind by accept-ing human nature and knowing the different needs of subordinates, which will certainly acceler-ate the process of decision-making. Effective leaders have the potential to inspire work-ers. Inspiration by being passionate about the goal or even the path to the desired object is a key component of motivation. A leader can choose how to get a team engaged by pushing and con-trolling or by encouraging and cheering them daily. These different motiva-tion approaches are defined by leadership styles.
There are three common types of leadership. Democratic leadership: the lead-er seeks employees' opinions before approving a final decision. Opposite to democratic leader-ship is autocratic leadership: the leader makes decisions without input of employees. Laissez-faire type is the least intrusive form of leadership. The key is empowerment by arming all employees with tools to solve customers’ problems and empowering them to make deci-sions. The skilled leader knows how to move from one style to another as the situa-tion requires by applying knowledge management. In addition, confident managers can unlock people's potential, support the emotional needs of team members forming collaborative relation-ships, monitor team performance, provide regular feed-back, accomplish tasks, and achieve results. True leaders accept personal responsibility for their company’s failures and pass credit when it is given in order to build trust, contain anxiety in their team, and model humility and graciousness.
Furthermore, motivation is a core of leadership. Motivation is necessary to face high level challenges, to put out thoughts into action and pave the way to a visibility of a goal. It enhances self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, job satisfaction, job performance, employee health, vision and purpose. Motivation translates into tasks, measured results, getting rewarded for an accomplished work. It is necessary to motivate employees when they feel dissatisfied, when morale is low, when deadlines are difficult to meet or when results are not achievable.
For instance, Google is one of the best examples of leadership by using most important tools of motivation: extrinsic motivation (pay raises, time off, bonus checks); intrinsic motivation (personal desire to overcome a challenge, to produce high-quality of work, interact with team members). In other words, Google attracts and retains talent with its competitive salaries, free meals, employee trips and parties, financial bonuses, open presentations by top managers, gyms, and dog-friendly environments. The company breaks barriers, encourages creativity and collaboration. Employees feel empowered by this transparency and freedom. Google al-lows a flexible way to work on passion projects and tap into their creativity.
On the other hand, company Zappos uses empowerment as a motivational method. The company manages their employees within a powerful consumer culture that encour-ages creativity and inspires employees to feel free in their activi-ty. The Chief Executive Officer has given all employees the freedom to do what they feel is right to help the customers. Instead of spewing policies, employees are encouraged to promote free exchange offers, send gifts to clients and make suggestions for free fast-track shipping.
In general, involving employees in the team and business-related processes empowering them for planning and forecasting, decision making, even control, creates a social con-tract. Whereas these employees work harder, tend to be more efficient, and generally strive to do more for the company that lets them feel valuable. Daily motivation is the key to a long-term in-volvement, where everybody benefits. The workplace should be a safe place for people to be au-thentic, feel safe, to have life-work balance. A good leader should create an environment where employees are motivated, have a sense of autonomy, relatedness, and competence.