Inspiring the Team: Part 1 – The Do’s
How can you be the motivational force that urges the team toward greatness? That boosts their efforts, nudges, and prods, but mostly encourages them to be all they can be? As the manager/department head/supervisor, you need to fill that role if you want your team to reach its maximum potential. And why wouldn’t you? There’s no way you put all that time and energy and effort into forming this particular group of employees into a cohesive team only to see them produce mediocre results. Here’s how you can motivate them to meld their combined energy, knowledge, and skills into an inspired force committed to reaching for the stars.
- Be in the know. A team will not be inspired by a leader who is out of touch, singing a different tune, or is wandering around in left field. Take time for them. Listen to them, individually and as a group. Read between the lines. Find out what they need. Then set about to make it happen.
- Is it obvious to them that you are “all in?”You can pretend you care all you want, but unless you prove it with a high level of engagement and involvement, you will not get from the team, individually or corporately, all they have to give.
- Have a vision and share it.If you’ve fully bought into the vision yourself, then it’s not difficult to pass on that enthusiasm. First, make everyone aware of the collective vision – in writing. Then keep it in front of the team at all times. Use a tagline in your email signature as a reminder. Create a chant for staff/department meetings. The goal is to shift the team’s response from “We have to do this” to “We want to do this.” As Ekta Sahasi says, “People want to feel that they're part of something bigger than themselves. And one of the best ways for workers to experience this feeling is to understand and feel personally connected with their organization's mission.”
- Where do the most inspiring leaders spend their time? Not holed up in their offices, that’s for sure. They are out and about, pitching in, getting their hands dirty, being one of the team. They’re known for contributing in a tangible way to meeting goals and deadlines. Earn your team’s respect while gaining firsthand knowledge of what it takes to get the job done.
- Set clear, attainable goals. In one study, 63 percent of employees reported that they wasted time at work because they weren't aware of what work was a priority, and what wasn't. Use timelines, detailed outlines, or whatever model leaves no doubt what comes first, second, etc. This extra step will help to clarify if the goals are indeed attainable. A “challenging” goal is one thing. A “pie in the sky” goal is another matter altogether. Know the difference and strike a balance between nudging the team to excel and overwhelming them with impossible expectations.