A great leader will have a team who will be able to accomplish the mission set forth by the organization. In order for the team to be successful the leader must make sure they are ready. According to the Path-Goal Theory the leader must set challenging but realistic goals. The employees must know they will be able to accomplish the goal if they work hard enough. If a goal cannot be reached, it will lead to frustration. In order to keep employees motivated, they have to be working towards something worthwhile. If a pay raise is important to them then the goal should help them attain this. The leader must also provide the subordinates with the tools that are required in order for things to flow smoothly. Making the goals clear and expectations known will allow everyone to work effectively. The leader is there to provide the team with whatever it is they need in order to accomplish the goal. The leader can be supportive, directive, participative, or achievement oriented. A supportive leader will create a safe environment for the employees. A directive leader behavior will make sure everything is outlined for everyone. There will be no confusion as to what gets done and who does it. A participative behavior gives the employees some decision making power and brainstorming. The achievement-oriented behavior is stimulated with goals and confidence.
Abraham Maslow outlined a hierarchy of needs that we all must achieve. A leader can keep his team motivated by helping each subordinate achieve these needs. The first need is physiological needs which are basic things such as water, food, and sleep. A supportive leader will make sure his team has a lunch break so that this need can be taken care of. The second need is safety. The team must feel as if they are in a safe environment in order to perform to their full potential. A supportive leadership behavior will also do this by having a safe atmosphere where everyone can participate without being ridiculed or harmed. The third need is love and belonging. A supportive and participative behavior can accomplish this need. A supportive behavior creates and environment where employees can share ideas with one another and so stimulate friendships. A participative behavior will allow employs to share their vision and help make important decision so that they can feel as if they belong to the group. The fourth need is esteem. The directive and achievement oriented behavior will fulfill this need. The directive behavior will give the employee the tools and expectation needed in order to accomplish goals set by the achievement oriented behavior. Once the subordinate accomplishes these goals they will gain skills and have higher self esteem. That is why it is important to set realistic goals. The final need is self-actualization. In order for the leader to help the employee accomplish this need they need to help them on a personal level. Self-actualization is about having personal growth. A leader can help by giving the subordinate advise or becoming their mentor (a supportive behavior).
It is important for these needs to be accomplished. A hungry worker will not be able to focus on anything else but their hunger. If the leader wants a team who remains motivated, he needs to find where the individual is on the needs hierarchy and use the adequate leader behavior to help accomplish the need.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.