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NEW Leadership Academy: Liberate to motivate

Friday, November 7, 2014  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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Four of the most motivating words Karen Ress of Nestlé Waters North America ever received from a boss: "Just go do it."

Ress, Nestlé Waters vice president and general manager of international brands, joined Paula Correy, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hy-Vee, to share workplace-tested strategies for inspiring others during the NEW Leadership Academy webinar, "Motivating Others," Nov. 7, 2014. The discussion, viewed live by nearly 500 NEW Members, was moderated by facilitator Jo Miller, CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching.

Ress recalled how a senior executive once challenged her team to double business and gave them the freedom to "just go do it." Feeling liberated and inspired, the team developed a business plan that has resulted in double-digit annual growth ever since.

Correy shared her experience working with a project leader who granted each team member autonomy and encouraged the group to "have fun." A contest and incentive increased enthusiasm around the project.

A motivational leader offers advice and provides the right tools to achieve goals, but limits any focus on self-recognition, Correy said. "It's more motivating for your team when you're willing to do anything you ask them to do."

Authenticity is key, she added. "Don't ever try to be something you're not. Being yourself can take you a long way."

Treating team members like "the family that we are" is critical to inspiring close collaboration, Ress said. "Make sure people are aligned and completely understand their roles. Always provide context for the 'whys' behind the 'whats.'"

Please and thank you

Courtesy and encouragement are essential. "Remember we are all human," Correy said. "Different things affect people differently."

Some professional relationships can require special consideration, Ress said. When working with a geographically disperse team, recognize potential cultural differences in communication styles. "We don't all operate in the same manner."

"Develop relationships by listening, communicating, encouraging," Correy advised. "Sponsor them. Recommend [members of your team] and pass on praise about their performance to their supervisor. Be honest and open. Encourage and communicate with the leaders above you [too]."

Remember that "no environment is free of bias," Ress added. "Be intentional about understanding and erasing the negative impact of bias."

Members may register online for free for the last NEW Leadership Academy webinar of the year, "Ask the Chief Executive: What the CEO Wants You to Know," Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. ET. View previous NEW Leadership Academy webinars in the NEW Study Hall.

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