Employee-wide leadership can motivate staff and drive business success

Nicky Moffat

Employee Benefits Live 2016: Employees at all levels of an organisation should present themselves as leadership role models to empower and motivate colleagues to achieve personal success within a business setting, helping an organisation to achieve its goals.

Presenting the final keynote address at Employee Benefits Live 2016, Nicky Moffat CBE (pictured), former HR director at The British Army, spoke to delegates about the importance of leadership and the impact this can have on individuals, teams, and business tasks.

Describing leadership as the art of getting employees to do things they do not necessarily want to do willingly and well, Moffat explained that within the Armed Forces, a personal leadership style was a core lever to drive soldiers to success.

She said: “We don’t necessarily have all the benefits levers that might be available more widely in other corporate settings. Our pay is set by the Armed Forces pay review body so as a lever and a line manager, my levers are limited in a way to personal leadership.”

All Army personnel undergo leadership training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, regardless of role and position.

Many employees within an organisation may not view themselves as leaders, but line managers and staff who are mothers and fathers for example, all hold leadership positions in some form, and should therefore act as role models, said Moffat.

Leaders need to be aligned with the organisation’s purpose, vision and values, and be able to explain these in broad, clear and relatable terms to employees, said Moffat.

Moffat said: “If a leader gets the balance right in terms of emphasis and effort and focus on the task, on the team and on the individual, they are more likely to have better leadership and task-orientated outcomes.”

How a leader presents themselves can also impact team dynamic. Moffat said: “Leadership and inspiration and motivation are really about being positive and being energetic, and hopefully encouraging others to be positive and energetic and to feel motivated by what they’re being asked to do.

“If you always put people last, you’re not going to achieve what you want to achieve, because without people, there is no operational success.”

Consistent communication

Communication from leaders should be regular, consistent, accessible, and honest, said Moffat. This includes providing clear direction and explaining goals so that staff know what is expected of them, as well as what they should expect from leaders. These honest and open conversations create trust between teams which forge a consistency of understanding and shared values, which contributes to the success of tasks.

Moffat said: “Trust very much comes from these open and honest conversations, but also this sense that a leader has people’s backs. Without trust, it’s really difficult to empower people.”