To inspire your team is to motivate them to do their job well, enjoy what they’re doing, and feel excited about the direction of your company and their role within it. As a leader, keeping your team inspired is an important responsibility, especially during turbulent or challenging times.
Why is inspiration your responsibility?
When employees aren’t just engaged, but inspired, that’s when organizations see real breakthroughs. Inspired employees are themselves far more productive and, in turn, inspire those around them to strive for greater heights.
Unfortunately, 42% of employees don’t feel their leadership is contributing to a positive company culture. When employees are uninspired, disengaged, and unfulfilled, chances are high they’ll start looking elsewhere.
The good news is that inspiring employees doesn’t need to be daunting. Here are some fresh ideas to start with:
1. Challenge them more often
Believe it or not, your employees want to be challenged. Performing the same mundane tasks day in and day out can grow old quickly. That’s why, according to a 2017 survey, 83% of employees who are given opportunities to take on new challenges say they’re more likely to stay with their employer.
Communicate with your employees to find out how challenged they feel. Are they struggling to meet organizational requirements? Are they reaching their own personal objectives? Do they need more demanding goals? Do they have too much on their plate?
Inspire every week: Start an intrapreneur initiative, and allow each team member time each week to work on a “passion” project related to the business. This may be work that inspires them more than their day-to-day job and could also lead to new learnings, product ideas, or even revenue streams.
2. Re-think technical training
Many teams, especially technical ones, require recurring training—but if conducted poorly, such trainings can be anything but inspirational.
Too often I find that managers impose training on people, and people like the training, but it’s not necessarily what they need. Ask, what would you like? What would make a difference to you? If we use a retrospective from your most recent project, what do you want to improve?
–Kellye Whitney, Anatomy of a Modern Day Technical Training Course.
Re-think training opportunities by identifying topics: what does your team want to learn about, and what do they need to learn about?
Consider splitting the training into two sections: 70% hands-on and 30% theory. This format often helps teams better grasp new concepts and apply the subject matter beyond the lesson or training’s application, all while feeling more inspired to keep learning and applying their new skills.
Inspire every week: Identify training opportunities, and discuss opportunities your team can learn more each week. Keep these ideas in mind as you demo a new product feature at all-hands meetings or dive into a fresh marketing initiative.
3. Publicly recognize their work
Public employee recognition is one of the best ways to inspire your team because it has a far-reaching inspirational impact:
- 70% percent of employees say that motivation and morale would improve 'massively' if managers said thank you more.
- Happiness raises business productivity by 31%.
- Recognition increases employee engagement up to 60%.
- Companies with a “recognition-rich” culture have 31% lower voluntary turnover rates than companies that don’t.
Inspiring your team with recognition also provides an important link to specific actions and their positive effects on an organization.
Inspire every week: Recognize members of your team at least once each week, whether it’s in your regular team meeting or another type of public forum.
Inspire your team every week
Don’t let your team get into a rut. Use these ideas to keep employees inspired, engaged, and connected, making sure they’re challenged and feel appreciated. When your employees feel inspired, everyone wins.