The success of any business or social enterprise is dependent on leadership. The vision and direction of the CEO are vital. A lack of leadership, breeds internal chaos, the absence of cohesion, and, frankly, a team that is simply not motivated. Many businesses fail because entrepreneurs are simply not up to the task of leading their organization and teams well.

I’ve been a CEO for a long time, and these are five ways I’ve learned that leaders can inspire and motivate their teams, which inevitably leads to increased employee engagement and productivity.

  1. Consistency: Consistency is essential to success. When your team sees that you are consistent in how you engage staff, day-to-day business and everything you do, this helps in creating stability. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard through the years employees complain that they have no idea which boss will be walking in the door each morning. CEOs that are kind one moment and irate the next confuse their teams. Instead of working, staff is left to wonder what the CEO will do next. Leaders should have a consistency of temperament, thought, and action. Consistency helps signal to team members what may or may not work, and it fosters creativity.
  2. Transparency: When decisions happen, leaders should explain them to their teams. Employees too have to make decisions in their day-to-day work. No CEO, no matter how good he or she is can be involved at a macro and micro level each day. Employees need to have some leeway in doing their respective jobs, and if there’s something that has to happen a certain way, team members should understand and be informed about the rationale behind it. Productivity increases when CEOs are transparent about the “why” of key decisions and policies. It also helps teams understand the big picture.
  3. Adults: Your employees are adults. Treat them like adults. There are too many micro-managers out there. I understand that as the CEO of your business or social enterprise you want to be involved in many things. You want to make sure that things occur according to your vision. That’s okay. Where a lot of managers get caught up is spending time micro-managing the work of their employees and, essentially, almost doing their jobs for them. One of the best ways to inspire your team and increase productivity is to treat them like the adults and professionals that they are in your business. Lay out the policies and the methods they have to use within your business and then let them be themselves in executing. Give feedback when they need a critique, but also give them credit for a job well done.
  4. Perks: Company perks are great, but if the leader is not properly leading his or her team, any business that spends money on pizza lunches or expensive bonuses is only wasting money. Studies have shown that employees want to be valuable team members. That’s by far the best way to motivate staff. Show them that you value and respect them as individuals and team members. If you do that, the perks you’ll give them will only enhance the motivated working environment you’re trying to create. Perks alone won’t save a CEO from having high turnover from employees that aren’t made to feel valued in other ways.
  5. Feedback: Giving staff members feedback is essential to the work, but the best leaders also want to receive feedback from their teams. Many of your staff members are on the front lines of your business, especially those in sales or marketing. Ask them what’s working in your initiatives, programs and even some of your policies, and what isn’t. Then ask them why and how they would improve. As a leader, I spend a lot of time talking little and asking many questions of my team. I want to hear from them. Even a passing conversation can be valuable insight and information for me.

Remember, if you trust your team to do their jobs well, you should have people who know business topic areas better than you do. It’s their job, and they’re supposed to be involved in the granular details. If you’re consistent, transparent and ask for feedback, for example, you’ll have the opportunity to have a productive team. And, your business will thrive because you have a motivated group working on your success.