Please check back every Monday for more Leadership Matters columns by Dr. Todd, founder of IMPACT Consulting and DevelopmentThe stock market seems to be recovering somewhat but sales still lag and costs still loom large. Your division director has been in meetings lately discussing reorganization, which means that jobs are at stake. You've already agreed to take no bonus or salary increase for this year and now there's a discussion of pay cuts across the board for you and for your employees. And yet some know-it-all online columnist is telling you that it's still your job to engage and inspire your employees? What kind of ridiculous idea is that? While I am a bona fide know-it-all (it's genetic), I would argue that engaging and inspiring your employees in times like these is not only still part of your responsibility as a leader -- it's even more important than ever. While resources are scarce and the ability to hire more employees is impossible for most organizations, it is essential to help your followers focus on success in the future. The challenge, of course, is to determine what exactly will create greater morale and engagement when, to be honest, most of the environment stinks. While many would suggest starting with "what motivates you," I'm going to suggest that you take the time to consider, "what really motivates my followers?" The answer, by the way, is not money. Money is a form of motivation because it symbolizes success and provides stability. But in the end it is only the foundation for engagement, not a tool for engagement itself.
There are some things you can do right away if you want to further engage your employees without creating a high-budget initiative or sending everybody off on vacations to the Caribbean. And all of them come from the point-of-view of the follower: