When’s the last time that you inspired your team? If you can’t recall, that’s a problem. Of course, inspiring someone else is sometimes easier said than done. However, in my attempts to inspire my own team, I’ve figured out three strategies to bring out the best in the talent that works with me.
1. Encourage self-development and happiness.
What value will your team members be to themselves or your organization if they don’t continually pursue self-development? In my own experience working on personal and professional development, self-development has made me feel more motivated, enthusiastic and positive about the projects I take on. Therefore, it only made sense to encourage my team to take their own self-development journeys. Beyond just encouraging them to do it, I also invest in the resources and training that ensures they follow through.
The response has been phenomenal. My team appreciates that I care about their overall development as people as well as their happiness and satisfaction in advancing their careers. As a return on that investment, the team has brought better ideas to the table and increased their productivity. Their enthusiasm and positive approach as they take this journey becomes infectious and helps me as a leader to continue on my own self-development journey.
2. Make transparency the cornerstone of your communication.
It’s no secret that communication is vital for your business. After all, communication maintains employee engagement, ensures consistency and accuracy, promotes feedback and keeps everyone on the same page in terms of strategies and goals.
When it comes to effective communication, I’ve found that transparency is the key. I speak openly about the business, our financials, what’s working and what isn’t, and where we are headed. In return, I encourage the same transparency from my employees in terms of creating a culture where they feel comfortable coming to me with anything that is on their minds. Even talking to me about things that are not directly related to the company, but may affect their performance, is encouraged, because it helps me understand and allows them to focus on what they need to accomplish.
In return, I’ve gained their trust. They know I’m not hiding anything and that I’ll listen to what’s on their mind. It inspires them to work that much harder toward achieving our company goals.
3. Get a little weird.
In order to truly inspire, it helps to go beyond the usual advice that everyone has heard before. I’ve been inspired personally by other’s creativity in pushing their teams to achieve greatness. Examples include launching a “Mini-CEO Program” where you appoint a team member as CEO for the day, or having some fun like what Beryl Companies did with holding a “pajama day.” I like to take an unconventional angle, because it’s hard to feel inspired when everything becomes too serious. I tend to be spontaneous in my approach. There have been times where I’ve decided we should all go out and do something social together like, take go-karts for a spin or even go skydiving.
Beyond just implementing different activities and programs in my company, I find that sharing something from my heart about how I feel about my team goes a long way in terms of inspiring them. This includes writing team members handwritten notes about what their talent has done for the company, and how much I value them as unique individuals. I also try to get some one-on-one time with them over a meal rather than having formal meetings with a desk or conference table in between us. There’s a lot to be said for face-to-face interaction that helps build more meaningful professional relationships that fuel inspiration, ideas and our mutual success.
Inspiration transforms a good business into a winning business.
As Scott Barry Kaufman says in Harvard Business Review, “Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities.”
For me and my team, these three strategies have made an incredible difference in how we envision our individual and collective success, as well as how we’ve been able to transform from a “good” business into a winning one. Success breeds success, and it’s what keeps our momentum going.