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Leadership Lessons from Legendary CEOs: How to Inspire and Motivate Your Team

Updated: Aug 21, 2023



Leadership is key to success in any organization, and the Inspiration and Motivation of a team can determine its outcome. Legendary CEOs have a wealth of experience and knowledge in leading a team effectively. By studying their leadership styles, you can learn valuable lessons that can be applied to your company.

Ultimately an organization and a leader is nothing without their team. And one essential skill a leader must have is the ability to inspire and motivate their employees. Without that, having an efficient, effective, and productive team that successfully meets business goals together is challenging. This responsibility can feel daunting at first, especially for new leaders. However, leaders are made, not born. Anyone with the will and determination can learn the necessary skills to inspire and motivate any team and be successful.

Learn below some leadership lessons used by seasoned and successful CEOs and how to apply these lessons to inspire and motivate your team.

Clear Vision and Communication Successful leadership and motivation start with a vision and communicating that vision and direction to team members. It’s hard for anyone to feel inspired or motivated to work hard toward something without an idea of what they’re working toward. Even more so, if that vision isn’t clearly communicated, it can be challenging for team members to feel connected to the idea and, in turn, lack the motivation to strive towards it during tough times.

Inspiration and Motivation: Being Adaptable Adaptability is vital to keeping inspiration and motivation fresh within the workplace. And a company or team is only as adaptable as its leadership. Leaders who can easily adapt to change and help their team adapt are more likely to succeed in the long run. The business world is constantly evolving, from digital transformation to leadership styles, workplace expectations, markets, and more. Successful CEOs, such as Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, became known for their ability to adapt to changes in the market, and their companies thrived as a result.

A leader needs to be adaptable to make sure their organization and team can also adapt to these changes. Change and adaptability don’t always come naturally for some. It can bring about uncertainty, learning curves, and adjustment periods. A lack of motivation or inspiration during change can make it hard for team members to be adaptable and productively implement the necessary changes. So leaders must be flexible and understand the challenges associated with the changing business world for employees.

Put Your People First The best way for leaders to successfully inspire and motivate their teams is by putting their people first. This applies to a team and to a leader’s ability to inspire beyond their team and accomplish greater business success. Jonathan Maxim, CEO of HeyPal, says, “If a CEO can inspire a team of 50, they can inspire a customer base of 5,000 or a shareholder base of 50,000.”

Employees who don’t feel valued or appreciated or lack a relationship with their manager are rarely motivated. Inspiration and motivation require a connection. The first part of helping employees make that connection is showing you put your people first through listening, receiving feedback, and showing that you value their efforts and contributions. That primary connection between leaders and team members helps keep morale and motivation high and ultimately grows the bottom line.

Learning Employees’ Motivators On top of putting team members first, it’s essential to understand that each individual has their own motivators that keep them going at work. And in order to keep your team inspired and motivated, it would be beneficial to take the time to learn what motivates each team member and be intentional about providing each team member with those incentives. Common motivators for employees can include:

  • Appreciation or recognition for a job well done from their contributions and achievements

  • Being in the know about company moves and knowing the “why” behind a project

  • An understanding attitude, open communication, and support from management

  • Monetary incentives, bonuses, pay raises, salary reviews, and increases

  • Career advancement and leadership opportunities

  • Interesting and creative work and the chance to be innovative and collaborate

  • Continuing education, learning new skills, and improving skillsets

Leaders can take the initiative by setting aside time to get to know each employee, their work style, goals, and what motivates them. These details can be used to create an individual leadership style plan for each team member.

Prioritize Employee Mental Health and Well-Being In recent years, mental health and employee well-being in the workplace has become more important, especially for motivating teams. It’s difficult to be inspired when experiencing burnout or a poor work-life balance. Benedikt von Braunmühl, CEO of HMNC Brain Health, a precision medicine biotech company for the psychiatric industry, emphasizes the importance of proactively addressing employees’ mental health and well-being. He suggests leaders implement mindfulness practices and foster a sense of community with their team to create a forward-thinking work environment well-suited for hybrid and digital working.

Prioritizing employees’ mental health and well-being and encouraging them to be transparent when they need support to maintain a healthy work-life balance helps keep a motivated and productive team. Additionally, employees who feel like management is dedicated to their well-being are more likely to be dedicated to the company’s vision.

Listen to Employee Needs Listening to the needs of employees is an essential component of effective leadership and building a highly-motivated team. When leaders take the time to truly listen to concerns, ideas, and needs, they create an environment of trust and mutual respect, which is crucial for maintaining motivation. Employees who feel heard and valued are more likely to be engaged and invested in the organization’s success.

One of the key benefits of listening to employees’ needs is that it allows leaders to identify and address any problems or issues affecting employee motivation. For example, if an employee is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, a leader attuned to their needs may be able to provide additional resources or support to help them manage their workload. Similarly, if an employee is feeling disengaged or uninspired, a leader who takes the time to listen to their ideas and concerns may create new opportunities for growth and development. This can help reignite their motivation.

It’s also important for leaders to listen to the work environment needs of their employees to understand what can help keep them motivated and productive. As workplace expectations continue to shift and employees’ values are shifting as well, it’s a good idea to discuss with team members what things could be different to help them stay more productive and motivated. This could include benefit packages, workplace amenities, schedules, and hybrid work options. Every person works differently. Learning to create a motivational environment that helps employees operate at their best productivity levels can help everyone succeed.

The Bottom Line Leadership is a crucial aspect of keeping a team inspired and motivated. Many successful CEOs have demonstrated lessons, leadership styles, and tried and true skills to consistently keep any size team motivated. Leadership is not just about the leader but also about the team. If you want to take your leadership skills to the next level, reach out to Chris Dyer today to learn how he can help you inspire and motivate your team more effectively. Chris Dyer is a company culture expert, international keynote speaker, consultant, and best-selling author with extensive experience helping leaders better manage and motivate their teams.




CHRIS DYER

Chris Dyer is a recognized company culture and remote work expert. As a former CEO managing thousands of people, his companies consistently were named a best place to work. They have also been named a fastest growing company by Inc Magazine 5 times. Chris routinely consults and speaks, and Inc Magazine ranked him as the #1 Leadership Speaker on Culture. He has two bestselling books The Power of Company Culture and Remote Work, and has been named #5 on the Leadershum Power List, a Top 40 Change Management Guru, a Top 50 Global Thought Leader, and a Top 50 leadership podcast just this year. As a leadership speaker his goal is to inspire audiences with a straightforward delivery, insightful candor, and engaging humor. His talks leave audiences permanently transformed, offering innovative perspectives on leadership to improve company culture, and empower organizations to discover new successes. Countless companies have unlocked productivity, performance, and profits by implementing his 7 Pillar Strategy.

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