10 Ways To Inspire Your Team


More and more people feel stuck at work and are looking for validation. Not only do they want to be heard, but more importantly they want to know that their contributions are being noticed and not taken for granted. Not for the sake of attention, but more so because they want to know that their skill sets are still relevant and useful and that they are making a difference to advance the organizations they serve. With professional development budget cut-backs in recent years, employees have had to start investing in themselves as concerns grow about where their capabilities best fit in their organizations and what their futures hold.

At the same time, leaders are trying to make their employees feel more secure in order to keep the ship afloat, aware that if too much disruption leaks out into the workplace, there is risk of losing top-talent which is difficult and costly to replace. In this ever changing workplace terrain, leaders need to think differently about how to keep their teams on track. They must become more intuitive; diverting from the traditional ways of leading that have become too predictable and uninspiring.

Many leaders are out of touch and disconnected from their employees, focusing solely on their own personal agendas. This is most evident in leaders that still try to use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to earn trust, build loyalty and stimulate team and individual performance.

Leaders must understand that in today’s new workplace, there does not exist a single recipe to encourage employees to perform better. Rather, it’s about how to maximize the ingredients in order to create hundreds of recipes that are customized and authentic; that provide long-term continuity and impact. To get you started, here are ten ways to inspire teams to optimally perform.

1.  Solving, Not Just Selling
Stop selling your employees about why they need to perform better. Explain why their contributions help solve problems and contribute to the company’s advancement.  Employees are more inclined to step up their game when they know their work can add-value to the healthier whole. It’s not only about what you are trying to sell, but also what the team is able to solve along the way.

2.  Purpose, Not Just Profit
Employees are inspired by knowing that their hard work  makes a difference beyond profitability. Employees want leaders who see beyond the obvious and look to create wider reaching impact that extends into the community and influences social causes.

3.  Know the Ingredients, Not Just the Recipe
The secret recipe to inspiring employees is to know the “ingredients” of the people you are inspiring.  People want to know that their leaders understand their tendencies, aptitudes and behaviors well-enough to best work with and motivate them. The best leaders and coaches always do.

When you spend time with your employees, make it matter. Don’t just expect your time and title to inspire them. Employees want a leader that pays attention and genuinely cares about them.

4.  Learning, Not Just Lecturing
Employees are tired of being told what to do. They are eager to learn and remain relevant. But they find it difficult to be inspired by leaders who only inflict fear. In today’s fast-paced world, people don’t have time for lectures; they want continuous coaching and leaders that are paying attention. Eager to grow, they want objective feedback.

5.  Innovation, Not Just Ideation
Employees want to create impact. Allow them to be part of the innovation-based projects in your company by letting them get their hands dirty. Ideation is important, but being part of implementing the ideas that come to life can be a more exciting and meaningful growth opportunity for your employees that will inspire them to perform.

Additionally, provide your employees the resources to be innovative in their work.   Stay close enough to your employees’ activities to know the 2 or 3 tools  and/or resources that  each would require to take their performance to the next level. Allow innovation to inspire performance.

6.  Significance, Not Just Success
Helping your employees to be successful is important, but not inspiring enough in itself.  People want much more out of their leaders and if you can activate the natural talents of your employees in ways that make them feel more responsible about their jobs, you will be inspiring something that is more significant – and has longer lasting impact.

The next time you conduct an employee performance review, evaluate each performance in two areas:  success and significance.   Let’s say that “sales” is a performance category – and your employee has performed at 90% of plan. That’s good. After you discuss what is required to reach 100% of plan, measure the significance of the sales generated.  For example, perhaps reaching 90% of plan generated enough revenue to hire 5 more people or contributed to a particular community outreach plan as a result of a local market push.  You never know the significance of someone’s performance until you measure it; and when you do, it’s an effective way to inspire even greater performance.

7.  Ownership, Not Just Accountability
Enforcing accountability is a key component to sustaining performance momentum. However, when you can give your employees “ownership” in the process of defining how accountability is enforced – you inspire trust and a desire to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Giving your employees ownership means that you have shared and entrust them with your authority. You are now allowing your employees to “call the shots” based on what they believe is in the best interest of the team and the organization.

8.  Respect, Not Just Recognition
Beyond appreciation and praise, show your respect and admiration for the work of your employees.  While people want to know they are respected, you must establish the ground rules for how respect is earned.

There are too many recognition addicts in the workplace.  In a world of fierce competition, we have come to believe we are our own best allies. We believe we must rely only on ourselves. We believe we can sell ourselves better than anyone else.  But this attitude puts our long-term careers in danger.

Unfortunately, too many people want recognition because they forgot the significantly greater value of earning respect. Re-train your employees about the importance of respect and lead them in how to earn it. When they see the greater impact respect delivers, they will be inspired by your example.

9.  Personal Growth, Not Just Responsibility
Historically, leaders have used “increased responsibility” to inspire performance. While this approach may still have merit, it is when a leader can help foster the professional growth and development of their employees that performance most flourishes. Leaders must take more time to mentor and / or guide their employee’s development and growth.

Encourage networking opportunities and performance development forums.  If the budget gets cut,– put your money where your mouth is.  For example, purchase copies of a book that you believe will help your employees advance and grow in their work.

10.  Trust, Not Just Transparency
Ultimately, it is a relationship based on trust that inspires employees to perform. When you are mindful of managing and concurrently implementing points #1 – #9 this will certainly jump-start your ability to earn trust with your employees and inspire their performance.  When you trust someone, you believe in them. People are inspired when they know that their leaders believe in their capabilities to deliver.

Inspiring employees to optimally perform requires a leader who can see beyond the obvious in people.  Inspiration comes not from something that you turn on and off, but rather from constant behavior – triggered through multiple ways – that makes your employees feel that they matter and that you genuinely care.


Read the original article from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/05/06/10-things-inspire-teams-to-optimally-perform/#250b2f086c83