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Leadership Skills #1 - Intro & Prime Motivators

Part 1/10
Introduction to a new series

I consider myself a more practical, skills based, learner. I left school at 16 and trained to be a lifeguard, and it took me a long time to develop the academic skills to start to enjoy academic. However, there are a few subjects that i have always enjoyed studying because of their wide application to day to day life.

"Leadership: All it takes is someone to follow" :-p
This series of 10 or 11 posts is all about Leadership & Communication Skills and was written by me a couple of years ago. Its a combination of research from training materials and personal experience from cadets, police, and being a civilian manager in the leisure industry. List of thanks at the bottom of this page!

You may not be in a leadership position right now, but you might pick up a few nuggets that you find useful as general life skills. Check out the subjects i am going to cover below. Publication will be at midday for the next 10/11 days. I have also included the assessment questions i wrote at the time incase you want to do something practical. I wrote the assessment questions based on exam techniques i learned when studying for a British Safety Council exam so i credit them for teaching me...the exam technique module is at the bottom of this 'see more'. Contents...

Part 1: Leadership
  • # 1: Prime Motivators
  • # 2: Responding to complaints and criticism
  • # 3: Enhancing your relationship with your team
  • # 4: Communicating your leadership abilities
Part 2: Guiding a team
  • # 5: Team based goal setting and planning 
  • # 6: Smart objectives
  • # 7: Using power to communicate vision
  • # 8: Delegating power
  • # 9: Lead to inspire achievement

Part 1.1 Prime Motivators

As a leader, your prime responsibility is to motivate those who you are leading. However, it is important to remember that people work for a combination of reasons or motivations.

When these motivators are not satisfied, it can make work a chore, or even unpleasant. Productivity, and especially general activity can be dramatically effected, so as a leader it is very important that you know how to satisfy motivators.

Prime Motivators

1. Recognition

People motivated by recognition need to have their work acknowledged. They want appreciation, and they respond to praise, particularly when its public. They look for respect from colleagues and often seek feedback.

2. Responsibility

People who are motivated by responsibility need to be needed. They respond well when they are trusted with key roles and like to think that their contributions are vital. They will often seek tasks that others will shine away from.

3. Remuneration

People motivated by remuneration want tangible rewards rewards for their efforts. These people respond well to prizes, bonuses and other similar incentives. They want to know what is in it for them.

4. Security

People motivated by security need to know that their jobs are safe. They respond well to anything that reflects the prospect of a long term career and employment stability. They will often seek reassurance of their job security.

5. Status

People motivated by status focus on their position in the corporate hierarchy. They like titles that signify their authority, because they want to impress. These people may emphasise their position more than seems necessary.

It is essential to do your best to recognise which factor is most important to each individual. A one size fits all approach to motivation will probably not work.

As well as taking every opportunity to use the right motivational incentives, a leaders communication should reflect his recognition of what motivates each member of the team. Keep your others motivated using language that appeals to their motivators. 
How to lead each type

1. Recognition

This is easy enough if they are motivated by recognition. Simply show your appreciation and give sincere praise whenever it is warranted.

2. Responsibility

When people are motivated by responsibility, they want to take full ownership of their work, and therefore of the results. Communicate that they are trusted and vital members of the staff who can be given the freedom and authority to achieve something meaningful. 

3. Remuneration

People motivated by remuneration obviously want to hear promises of rewards. However you do not always have the power to authorise additional incentives. It may be inappropriate to do so.

So when you communicate with these people, emphasise the existing returns for good work, and the future rewards that will come with continued good work.

4. Security

When people are motivated by security, reassure them that their employment/role is safe if they continue to perform well and to the required standard. Use language that appeals to their preference for consistency, including words such as:

  • Consistent
  • Stable
  • Unchanged
  • Continued
  • Unaffected

5. Status

If status is their prime motivator, then people seek opportunities to impress, or to make others envy them. They like to feel superior-whether it is because they have a better car, a bigger office, or more authority. Obviously they enjoy having this perceived superiority confirmed by others. To keep them motivated, point out how they can attain a higher standard through their work and associated achievements.
Motivating your team helps you to foster a cooperative team spirit and a positive environment that encourages people to continue to put time into their activities and to do their best.

have you read the assignment technique section at the bottom of post 1.1?

1. Pick three of the prime motivators. For each one, answer the following questions.

         a) Explain what is meant by each of your choices (3) 

         b) Outline the advantages and disadvantages of your choices (6)

         c) Describe, in as much detail as you deem appropriate, how you would satisfy a cadets prime motivator for each of your choices (12)

My Assessment Technique

These assessment questions were designed to draw out what the student had learned and them to analyse how it is to be applied.

Each question will consist of 2 parts. A short answer, medium answer and long answer. Answer expectations can be identified by the command words used and the amount of marks available. I have explained the 5 command words that i have used below and roughly what is expected in quantity. This is to give the student an idea of expectations and its a fairly recognised exam technique.

Command Words

Identify (Phrase)
  • Give reference to an item

Explain what is meant by (Phrase)
  • Recognised definition
  • Describe in a precise way so it is distinguishable from anything else

Outline (approx 2 sentences)
  • State or make clear
  • Give most important features

Describe ( approx 5 sentences)
  • Give enough detail for the reader to have a clear picture

Explain (2-3 paragraphs)
  • How
  • Why
  • Reasons
  • Linking causes and effects
  • Draw parallel
  • Relationships
  • How theory can be applied
  • words such as: because // since // then // so that // in order to

Thanks goes to training i received from Thames Valley PoliceLeicestershire PoliceMilton Keynes Marine Cadet Detachment, Royal Lifesaving Society and the British Safety Council who inspired various bits of this series of posts.