What's the single most important attribute of leaders at all levels?
What quality do we seek to develop & amplify in all our people, and especially our leaders?
I'd say initiative.
Initiative entails feeling that I can and will make a difference.
(Psychologists use the clinical term 'having an internal locus of control'.)
Much has been written about motivation, of course.
The consensus: we cannot motivate -- we can only de-motivate.
So how do we remove the barriers to initiative, the de-motivators, if you will?
Start by adopting a policy of respect for people, and never waver.
- Put Safety first,
- Be open and honest,
- To the best of your ability, give team members job security
- Help them develop the skills they need, by doing and getting their hands dirty,
- Give them clear objectives
- Give them guidance on how to achieve them, without telling them how (and thereby taking away their responsibility and opportunity to learn)
- Reward them fairly. To the best of your ability, render to every person "their lawful due"
Initiative is their common thread, and respect for people, its source.