Leaders Speak: Successful Motivation and Inspiration in Local Government


On Friday, May 17, 2024, LeaderGov hosted a workshop for Local Government leaders on Inspiration and Motivation. Highlighted below is a summary of their insights into how they approach motivation and inspiration for their teams.  

If you’d like training for your local government team on this or other leadership topics, email us at [email protected].

Differences between Motivation and Inspiration

Understanding the difference between motivation and inspiration is crucial. Inspiration is self-driven and internal, igniting a personal passion within individuals. In contrast, motivation is often external, relying on persuasion and aimed at task completion. Inspiration stimulates mental engagement, fostering a deeper connection to the work, while motivation typically drives immediate action.

Challenges to Motivation as a Leadership Tool

During the workshop participants highlighted several challenges in keeping their teams motivated. Burnout and heavy workloads...

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How to build team trust: Linkedin Poll


LeaderGov published a poll on LinkedIN recently about how to best build trust on teams.   We provided four answer options as to how to build trust.  Two answers of the four were far and away the most valued.   The chart below shows the results of the poll. 

Listen to their concerns / ideas

The largest poll response on building trust had to do with listening to employees' concerns and ideas.   Here are some examples and ideas on that important topic. 

Listening to employees' concerns is an important aspect of being an effective leader. When employees feel that their concerns are heard and valued, it can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher trust, better performance, and improved retention rates. 

Here are some tips on how to listen to employees' concerns as a leader:

  1. Create an open-door policy: In staff meetings or other venues, ensure your team knows that you are available to listen to their concerns, feedback, and suggestions....
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How to Work with a Toxic Boss

In local governments and in private business, having a toxic boss can be a difficult and stressful experience for any employee. Toxic bosses can cause a lot of harm to an employee's career, as well as their emotional and mental well-being. However, sometimes leaving a job or getting the toxic boss fired is not an option. In this post, we will explore ways that employees can work successfully with a toxic boss.

Understand Your Boss's Behavior

The first step in dealing with a toxic boss is to understand their behavior. Recognize that their behavior is not about you, but rather a reflection of their own personal issues. By understanding this, you can avoid taking their behavior personally.  It's also important to have an open and compassionate mind.  Their behavior may be temporary and driven by some crisis outside work that you are not aware of. 

Set Boundaries

One of the best ways to deal with a toxic boss is to set boundaries. You can do this by being clear about...

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Grow Your Team's Emotional Intelligence Skills

In a recent LinkedIn poll, we asked local government leaders if their teams’ emotional intelligence was above average, average or below average. The results were not surprising in that most people rated their team below average or average. 

So, what does it take to increase and develop emotional awareness on a team? Developing emotional intelligence in an organization can have numerous benefits, including improved communication, increased teamwork, and better conflict resolution. 

Here are some ways to grow emotional intelligence in your local government:

  • Invest in training and coaching: Employees can benefit from workshops, seminars, and coaching sessions on emotional intelligence. These programs can help them develop self-awareness, empathy, and effective communication skills. 
  • Lead by example: Leaders play a crucial role in fostering emotional intelligence in their organizations. By modeling behaviors such as active listening, compassion, and empathy,...
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Two "people areas" of Local Government that cause leader pain

LeaderGov conducted an informal poll of local government leaders on LinkedIN and asked them which of these four areas created the most pain for them: 

  1. People issues slowing progress
  2. People issues clogging HR
  3. Unresolved people issues
  4. People not succession-ready

By far, the two biggest pain topics were: 

  • People issues slowing progress (38% )  and 
  • Lack of succession ready people (38%)

The Pain Associated with People Slowing Progress

We all know that tension on teams, past challenges and poor attitudes or past lack of follow-through can damage progress as teams work together.   As a leader however, it’s your job to address people and process issues that get in the way of results.  Failure to do so, typically makes matters worse, not better.   In fact, not addressing people issues erodes your respect and often emboldens others to become less responsible in their work, since they know you are not likely to address substandard work. 

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Types of Goals for Off-site Local Government Retreats

When you are holding an off-site local government retreat, it's important to determine what type of goals you want to focus on.   Outside of long-term strategic goals, below are examples of more operational goals that you may want to consider:

  1. Operational Goals: These are goals related to the day-to-day operations of the local government, such as streamlining processes, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs.
  2. Citizen Communication: These goals are related to increasing awareness of services, promoting new services or recognizing citizens or progress toward key initiatives.

  3. Human Resources Goals: These goals are related to the management and development of the local government's employees. They can include improving employee engagement, reducing turnover, or implementing new training programs.

  4. Innovation Goals: These goals are related to developing new products, services, or technologies to better serve citizens or others. They can include launching a new...

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A Goal Setting Process at Local Government Retreats

LeaderGov posted a recent poll on LinkedIn and asked local government leaders what aspects of an offsite planning retreat they valued the most. The number one answer it was team building and the number to answer was goal setting.

Goal setting has many side benefits including collaboration, alignment, vision casting and building a sense of unity around a common idea. 

Below are some ideas to consider as you begin to plan for goal setting at your next retreat.

  1. Strategic Priorities Breakout: Ideally your local government should have a sense of your strategic priorities or critical areas you will focus on in the coming 2-3 years.  We recommend a table breakout allowing each table to answer this question:  If we magically had an extra million dollars in cash right now, what are the 3 areas that we would spend it on that would give us the most leverage  today.  Is it technology, DEI, culture, facilities, leadership, community engagement? Then have each...
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Retreat Team Building Exercises

Like any organization, local governments need to build strong teams to get important things accomplished.   Even the mundane tasks are done with greater ease when we operate like a team.  

We recently completed a LinkedIn poll and asked local government leaders what key topics they liked most in retreat. By large margin the top two most popular aspects of retreats were team building time and goal setting time.

Team-Building Exercises

Next time you plan an offsite retreat for your Department, City or County staff, City Council or County Commission, we encourage you to include exercises that bring the team together and grow the level of trust and understanding among individuals.

Here is a list of several exercises you can consider. Let us know if we can help you think through the rest of your offsite retreat needs. 

  1. Two Truths and a Lie: Have each team member share three statements about themselves, two of which are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of the...

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4 Reasons Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training is More Important Than Ever

The movement for racial and social justice and a global pandemic has focused a spotlight on diversity training and its role in building a workplace culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in local government.

As part of a multipronged strategy, diversity training can be a valuable tool in the DEI toolbox to engage, educate and motivate employees to be more inclusive in their thinking and actions.

A modern, interactive approach to training offers HR leaders new ways to:

1. Amplifies senior leadership’s commitment

Diversity training provides leaders with a dynamic platform for communicating the organization’s commitment to DEI, the importance of everyone  participating in training and other initiatives, and setting expectations for behavior.

2. Raise awareness of unconscious bias

Unconscious bias or implicit bias − hidden attitudes based on social stereotypes which everyone has −is another concept that is part of the conversation on race,...

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Become a Servant Leader Healer

Uncategorized Mar 24, 2021

In this blog we discuss the Servant Leadership quality of being a healer.  You may not think you have much to do with healing as a leader, but there’s more to this idea than you may think.   Servant leadership is a set of ten qualities or traits that help accomplish your team’s goals by valuing people and putting others first.

The idea of being a servant leader healer is that you have an active role in healing relationships and you can provide resources for the emotional and physical healing of others. 

Simon Senik, the leadership thought-leader says in a YouTube video, “You’re not the one “in charge” but you are to care for those “in your charge”.  Oftentimes, those in your care experience times of stress, sickness, conflict and other set-backs that affect them personally and affect the quality of their work.   When others suffer on your team, they experience pain and the team does as well to a...

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