We often think we’re in the business of financial solutions. We are. But more than that, in fact no.1 in my leadership top tips, we’re also in the business of people. The first step in proving world-class service that creates genuine value for our clients comes from understanding them, and their needs.

My leadership top tips include a very important one for me as understanding our people is also essential on the other side of the fence when it comes to the teams you lead.

I’ve made it my mission to personally deliver knowledge and development sessions at every level throughout my career.

A quick Google search will show you that there’s more written about leadership and motivation than you could fit in a stack of encyclopaedias. But when you’re standing before your teams, your approach can’t rely on bullet points and standard instructions. It’s far more visceral, more personal when you’re in the room.

So how do you get the best out of people? Despite what literature might tell you, there really is no one best way. That’s why it comes back to people – and understanding what makes them tick.

One of my leadership top tips comes from some basic theory. In 1943, a psychologist called Abraham Maslow came up with a pyramid of human needs, which motivate them. The theory is classic, but still in some ways sound. It underpins much of how we understand people even today.

At the base of the pyramid are biological needs that drive people – food, water, warmth. Then come security needs, belonging needs, esteem needs and so on.

My first job is to listen and to get to the very heart of each individuals purpose. I always stand by the saying, that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

It sounds like a throwaway comment, but it’s not. What I wanted to talk about was Maslow’s esteem needs, and then the highest level at the apex of the pyramid – self actualisation; where people achieve their full potential.

It’s at that apex of achievement that I want to bring every member of my teams all over the world. It is a goal we have always succeeding at. For when people are motivated from the inside because they recognise their calling, they are a force to be reckoned with. This motivation shows in their work, in their client relationships, and in the ambitions they set themselves.

There’s no shortage of leadership theories. But for me, I believe leadership is deeply personal, and have therefore always made this one of my leadership top tips. It goes back to people – understanding them and enabling them. For when people are motivated from within, and when the fires of self-actualisation are ignited within them, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.

Blog published by Mike Coady.