Today, more than ever, almost everything is within our reach. The world we live in has pretty much “spoiled” us, setting our expectations that we can get everything now and immediately.
In such conditions, it is simply impossible not to be motivated. A daily dose of motivation arrives in your mail regularly, YouTube is full of short (and longer) videos that will energize you for the day ahead. On the desktop you have a background with a motivating image, and your phone rings in the rhythm of the melody “Eye of the tiger”. All that and much more.
But why are then so many people disengaged by work and the work environment? Just when we thought there was something good about working from home, by force of circumstance due to a global pandemic, we were missing something again. Working from home, once so desirable, has become a burden for both the employee and his family.
Now we come to the conclusion that motivation does not depend so much on the inspiring environment, for example, some IT companies with a lotus flower in the fountain in front of you and the chirping of birds from the Amazon forests that designers “installed” on a real baobab tree in the kitchen. It doesn’t depend on the motivating messages they wrote on the wall in front of you, especially if it says “Innovate or die!”. And working from home could be a little more inspiring.
People need to be our focus. How our colleagues and leaders who lead us are will determine our mood that day, and many days ahead of us. Leaders therefore have a great responsibility for the people they lead. Whether it is “flat” management in agile-oriented companies or deep “vertical” management in traditional companies, leaders are always needed. Leaders are real catalysts for change and the best ones to convey the message of the manager. In companies that really live the idea of “people first”, leaders are often the ones who convey the messages of the first lines to the company’s management. In that way, everyone grows, both the company and the people who stay in it. I intentionally said that they stay, because they are present with their whole being, and work is only a product of this philosophy, which gives much better results.
Agile leadership is based on agile principles and values. When we look at these principles through the prism of motivation and inspiration, we get a different picture. The agile way of thinking is known for that, because it is constantly looking for new insights and knowledge.
“Lead yourself first”, as one of the principles, through the prism of motivation would mean that the leader should first understand and motivate himself, in order to motivate others.
“Practice what you preach” is more than a clear message to your team members, I believe in what I say, I am motivated to motivate you.
“Inspire others to grow” requires leaders to create a secure environment in which all team members are free to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
And we could list and interpret all agile leadership principles like this, but at this point one logical question should be asked: “And why are these only agile leadership principles, why are they not LEADERSHIP principles?”. Why do we feel that leaders who lead people in a traditional management environment cannot live up to these values?
From my experience, they absolutely can and they do. Many “modern” companies may have teams led by leaders in a very traditional way, and some “traditional” ones may have individual leaders living agile principles without even knowing about them.
And once again we come to leaders and their understanding of leadership. Both “agile” and “traditional” leaders. Both can create a safe environment, where everyone is equal, where people are respected and valued, and such people are easy to motivate. They get up with a smile on their face and go to work. That is why it is easy to motivate people if we treat them as equals and capable of moving mountains. And if necessary, they will move them for their team.