Here Are Six Ways to Inspire Your Team
The holidays and year end are in full swing and a spirit of inspiration is in the air. Messages of love, hope, giving and peace are all around in Christmas movies, Christmas songs and even in advertising. I love this time of year because all of the positive messages give me a renewed sense of energy and wonder and I want this spirit to last all year! Inspiration is powerful and critical for living a successful life. However, with all the deadlines, pressures, world events and tragedies, the inspiration flame can be extinguished pretty quickly. As a leader, you know how vital it is to project that same enthusiasm and energy to your team throughout the year. So here are six ways that you can keep the inspiration burning.
Articulate Employee Value
People are inspired instantly by understanding the value they provide to a task or an organization. When they don’t understand how their contribution affects the company they: 1) go through the motions and do just enough to get by; 2) sit on the sidelines appearing disinterested and aloof; 3) move from role to role searching for a place they can add value. Connect the pieces for your team members by showing them how their actions tangibly make a difference in the organization. Don’t forget that every role should add value, otherwise it should not exist. Even the most mundane of jobs, like housekeeping and maintenance, make a significance different to the company. Just think of the last time you went into a public restroom that was not well maintained; it is not a pleasant experience. You can tell that the individual responsible for the cleanliness lacks inspiration and an understanding of the importance of their role. Leaders ensure their team members understand their unique value to the organization.
Show That You Care
People want to know their company cares about them. In order to care about anything, you must understand it first. As a leader, it is important to get to know your people. Understand what is important to them in their personal and professional life. Take a few moments to learn about their life outside of work and pay attention to those details. You may glean some important facts about what motivates this employee that you can apply to his or her role. Ask about their families, hobbies, values, priorities, extracurricular activities, things they do for fun or personal challenges. Get to know them as a person not a resource. You will be amazed at how taking fifteen minutes out of your “busy” day genuinely getting to know someone can inspire them as well as you. People crave caring and connection. Leaders inspire others when they show they care.
Convey The Vision
People are inspired by a meaningful vision. None of us like to be left in the dark with no sense of direction. We are inspired to act when we understand the company vision and our specific role in achieving that with other team members. As a leader, your team looks to you to set and communicate the vision. If you look at a list of top leaders in any given year, most of them are on the list because they are amazing visionaries. Think Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson to name a few. The one thing each of them had in common that made them so powerful and inspiration is they each had a vision or a dream they were setting out to achieve. Leaders inspire their teams with a roadmap of where they are headed and a passion to inspire the entire team to achieve it.
Inspiration is sparked with a sense of ownership. Most of us love the feeling that something belongs to us and that we have a responsibility for it. Whether it is a home, a car, a boat, a dog or even a child there is a great sense of pride and satisfaction of knowing that we can call something “ours.” The same feeling applies at work. People are more engaged in actions and results when they feel a sense of ownership. Leaders trust and empower their team members to own their work.
Grow Your Employee’s Skill Sets
Just like flowers, plants, and vegetables need the right mix of weather, soil and nutrients to grow, so do people. The word inspire means to breathe life and one of the best ways to give something life is to nurture and grow it. Give your team members challenging goals and actions to stretch their abilities. Invest the time and resources for them to take classes that will enhance their personal and work skills. Assign mentors who can demonstrate and coach their work performance so they may become more effective at working with and leading others. Life comes from continuous learning. Albert Einstein said “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Leaders inspire and give life by giving them the space ad resources to grow.
Show Your Appreciation
Appreciation in the realm of finances describes the art of growing and increasing your investment. In the realm of people, appreciation increases satisfaction, respect and inspires people to continue to give their all. Each of us wants to make a difference in life and in our actions and one of the best ways that we feel that is when others appreciate our actions. A simple heartfelt thank you goes a long way to spark the energy in an individual. Think of the last time someone really appreciated one of your actions. Their actions most likely gave you a sense of pride and a bump of energy and motivation to continue to perform. Leaders find ways large and small to appreciate their team which inspires them to give more!
As a leader, inspiring your team is not a one-time event at the beginning or end of a year or following a major accomplishment. Inspiration is an ongoing process that comes from demonstrating that you value and genuinely care about your team members. In addition, you must create a vision that inspires and give people ownership in achieving that vision. And when you offer space for people to grow and appreciate their efforts, everyone reaps the rewards. Breathe life into your team all year with these six simple ways of being.