5 Tips to Inspire Your Team
As we emerge from the pandemic and the economy strengthens, a key aspect of every manager’s role will be to inspire and motivate their team.
Many employees are itching to return to their normal places of work, whilst others want a more flexible, hybrid arrangement. Either way, one of the tasks facing managers and leaders at every level will be to reenergise their culture and create a great place to work.
Here are five tips to help you get started.
1. Catch people doing something right
What sort of feedback culture currently exists in your organisation? Do people only get feedback about how they are doing when they do something wrong? Or are they more likely to receive attention for doing something right?
Recognition is one of the most underused motivational tools because HR and management focus most of their attention on either the very best, or the very worst performing employees. Shine a positive light on the remaining 80 per cent from time to time by publicly acknowledging and celebrating individual success stories.
2. Align personal and organisational goals
It's a fact of post-Covid life that individuals are now motivated not only to meet their business objectives, but also their own personal goals. Take the time to find out what employees are most keen to achieve in their personal and professional lives, and be flexible about adapting roles to support this where possible.
3. Create a culture where everyone has a tremendous opportunity to be heard
Good leadership does not necessarily mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your lead. That can be hard. Instead try leading with questions, asking people for their thoughts, ideas and opinions. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great has this timeless advice: ‘Dialogue is not used as a sham process to let people ‘have their say’ so they can buy into a predetermined decision; rather it is used to engage people in the search for best answers’.
The strongest incentive for employee feedback is always the willingness of management to listen.
4. Encourage peer reinforcement
People tend to live up to what is expected of them. If an individual is expected to mess up a project, the chances are that they will. However, if they are expected to do a brilliant job, they are much more likely to try to overcome obstacles and so increase their chances of success. High performance cultures support people in feeling capable, confident and strong.
A powerful exercise is to invite all members of a team to write down the positive qualities they attribute to other team members, collate these and give them to each employee to keep. Positive reinforcement from others unlocks discretionary effort and builds team spirit – while costing very little.
5. Focus on attitude as well as skills
Attitude is one aspect of high performance that is often underestimated. A person with good knowledge and skill, but inappropriate attitude, will not be able to contribute as much to the organisation or department.
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that poor performance is the result of someone not having the skill to do the job properly. Instead, pay just as much attention to encouraging people to develop a positive, can-do attitude as you do to equipping them with the skills needed to do the job.
Positive leadership is at the heart of releasing discretionary effort, as managers' attitudes are usually absorbed by everyone in the team.