The secret to a highly motivated workforce: Take care of your people. How? Hint: It's not about giving staffers free rein all the time. And you don't need to spend millions outfitting the coolest office in town. What do you need?

• Structure. People want to know what's expected of them. Even if your workplace is casual, don't be afraid to craft a bold vision or give direction. "In my coaching and consulting work, I see very gifted leaders who are not setting the essential boundaries that would take them to the next level, or would turn struggling scenarios around," leadership consultant Henry Cloud, author of the upcoming book "Boundaries for Leaders," told IBD. "These boundaries are not difficult to establish. But they do take some proactive focus."

Help staff zero in on what's important. And learn to read individuals so you can tell if pessimism and powerlessness are on the rise. "Great leaders do not allow those seeds to take root," Cloud said.

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