Like you, I am still figuring leadership out. It is a journey. An axiom I strongly believe in is to give more than you get with your co-workers and subordinates.
I once attended a powerful leadership retreat where I learned - "Givers gain, takers lose."
And they do.
I believe in the "chit system". Jack Welch speaks of the chit system with regard to those employee team members with great performance.
I agree that the chit system should also be applied to leadership and one of the best pieces of Rainmaker Leadership advice I can provide is to be a "Chit Leader" - to high Job Fit team members in particular.
Most employee team members have some level of job mismatch. Trying to inspire and motivate people who have some degree (or a large degree) of job mismatch is futile. Why? You may inspire and motivate a low job fit team member for a period of time but in the end, they still cannot do their job well or at all. People who cannot do their job well ultimately end up disliking (or hating) their boss and their company.
Therefore, lead people that fit the job in the first place. Do not waste your time on those people who cannot or will not do their job.
With people who fit the job well, you should "prime the chit system" by giving as much as possible and reasonable to those with potential. After all... If the employee team member fits the job well - they will perform - therefore why not give more than you intend to get.
How can you give as a leader? I believe one of the best ways is to frequently share your vision, ask for feedback, get their ideas, learn about them as human beings, and provide ongoing active coaching. As a human being and a leader, you need to anticipate the needs of your current and future high performers. You need to be flexible while being real about the needs of the organization and business model. An example of the flexibility I am speaking about is allowing your high performers to shape their positions into one that "calls them" even more than it does currently.
Engaged employee team members do amazing work with higher energy. They are also better with Customers. Imagine that.
Being a "chit leader" is not about being "easy" on people - Quite the contrary actually. You need to be more demanding of your high performers and future high performers – but - you also need to give more.
Being a "chit leader" is not about getting paid back. If you hired the right person for the job - you will get much more than you put into them through their performance. With high job fit talent, what comes around, goes around. Always give more than you believe you are going to receive back.