And who motivates the leader that has to motivate others?

Alba Burillo

26 May 2016

Much of the recommended literature about Management focuses on objective factors associated with a project , such as designing workflows or tasks. In most cases, the most frequently-used focus on project management (and consequently, in teamwork) focuses on processes, where each task gets defined by a set of rules. Nonetheless, a study from The Harvard Business Review reveals that “the success rate of IT projects is 27%, that one out of every six projects is over-budget at an average of 200% and a 70% delayed delivery rate.”

What is the reason for this failure? Well, it’s due to tools, techniques, and theories that continue to be focused on the use of reasoning over emotional factors, which provide a greater chance of success when project and people management is involved.

At Good Rebels we believe in the project methodology and the need for having well-defined workflows, clear timing, and deliverables handed in on time. However, in our work philosophy, leadership and people management are critical to achieving success. Will this be one of the ingredients of our secret potion?

Leadership and emotional intelligence

If we focus on leadership and try to find the most scientific part of the matter, the tonsil is the responsible for activating emotions and controlling our impulses, making way for primary leadership and emotional competencies, meaning, emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is one of the greatest aptitudes to work on motivation. It’s necessary to have a motivated team, that’s clear, and leaders are precisely those in charge of helping companies in this arduous task. But, why focus motivation within a team with few hands? The decentralization of tasks or process is something in our day-to-day, and we must take it to a new level. Decentralizing leadership, or better, creating a shared leadership. To do so, we’ll have to work on the motivation of our leaders inside the organization.

This type of intelligence, with its five major capacities, are those that we should strengthen in our project leaders to achieve success.

  • Self-knowledge: leaders will need to possess a self-knowledge of their capabilities. To do so, from Talent Management departments, we’ll have to act as facilitators.
  • Self-regulation: having a balance between team gratification and the rewards is a must for a good leader.
  • Motivation: the leader has to be the first motivated link. The leaders have to have it clear that their leadership is their own and not imposed.
  • Empathy: to be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, detecting growth opportunities and professional development for coworkers, etc.
  • Social capabilities: to be able to manage conflicts, act as a change agent, innovate, take advantage of synergies between team members; ultimately, turn themselves into a leader that inspires, that guides.

Our leaders will have to possess these traits intrinsically, but this won’t be enough on its own for their motivation to endure over time and not be diminished by the day to day. Working on this motivation in an extrinsic way is a task that all areas related to people should consider within their yearly strategy.

How do we motivate those leaders that have to motivate at Good Rebels?

We’d like to share some of the levers we internally activate in our Culture and Talent department to empower those referents who should guide and inspire the rest of the Rebels.

First of all, identifying those natural leaders. A maxim should be not to force anybody to take on that responsibility or role.

Secondly, and intimately linked with one’s knowledge of one’s self, in Good Rebels we make competency matrices and a performance-evaluation system called InProgress that let us know and work those skills that reinforce the knowledge of our potential.

Besides that, our Culture teaches and reinforces us in the need for giving feedback (positive and negative) consistently. To do so, tools like InProgress or fora in which referential Rebels share reflections about the team with the Polo brothers.

In the end, it’s clear that processes, methodologies, and workflows are necessary to reach success; nonetheless emotional intelligence, that is, the ability to manage the emotions of those that make up a team, is the key element for turning one’s self into a good leader and be able to arrive at success.