Leaders across industries have a unique opportunity to not just focus on productivity and overall workforce management, but they have a chance to truly inspire their teams to be the best versions of themselves. And while the age-old saying of “waiting for inspiration to strike” may be the way many view inspiring others; it may be prudent to take a more hands-on approach to inspiration. In fact, being an uninspiring leader could have a dastardly affect on your workforce and company’s overall bottom line. According to a study by Zenger Folkman, uninspiring leaders (those in the bottom 10th percentile of inspiring and motivating others) have a 93% chance of their teams being in the bottom 10% in productivity. Moreover, only 23% of direct reports are highly engaged, while 47% of direct reports consider quitting. To avoid the patterns of the uninspiring leader, it’s important to embrace habits and techniques that encourage others to reach new heights.
Allow Room for Autonomy
One of the most important ways a leader can inspire others is by simply giving employees the opportunity to grow within their roles. Too often, organizations can tend to box-in or micromanage their teams, causing an unintentional ceiling of creativity, hindering productivity. However, when given the opportunity to take responsibility for personal development and autonomy, some workers will shine. Allow for mitigated autonomy where you see fit. Don’t worry, you don’t have to completely let go of the steering wheel to inspire your team, but it may be a good idea to put the plane on autopilot for a time to see where your staff goes.
Remember the physics postulate from Aristotle “nature abhors a vacuum”? If you allow space for growth, your team will have the chance to fill it with productivity. But the saying should also be a warning sign to not just give full independence. As a leader, calculated, intentional space is ideal over open-ended, unintentional delegation.
Open Lines of Communication about Career Goals
Speaking about career and professional goals, as well as personal desired development, should never be off limits. In fact, these conversations can be more helpful than harmful if addressed correctly. For some, the fear of losing a star employee supersedes the need to help champion their career. However, by avoiding these conversations, leaders unintentionally push employees toward outside opportunities, causing a revolving door of talent. Instead, encourage your team to open up about their short- and long-term goals and look for ways to connect their goals with the needs of the organization.
By encouraging your employees to pursue their goals within the company, you not only get a more engaged and inspired workforce, but you also build a culture of loyalty, cross-training, and professional development.
Lead by Example, Encourage Regular Success Stories
While it may not always be easy in a fast-paced, stress-filled environment, embracing the power of positivity can have an indelible effect on your team. And while culture is comprised of values from the top to the bottom, it all starts with leadership. If you want to enjoy the benefits of an inspired workforce, including highly engaged, productive, and creative employees, it’s imperative you reflect the same characteristics in how you interact with others and manage your staff. The lines of success may seem blurry, but the strength of leading by example has long-lasting benefits in all areas of your organization.
While living out inspiring characteristics through integrity can go a long way in motivating others, another way to create a culture of inspiration is encouraging employees, and even clients, to share inspiring success stories within their role or to expound on stories they have seen within their industry. Celebrating each other’s wins builds morale and inspires others to give that extra push to enjoy similar successes. Whether in regular weekly team meetings or quarterly all-department events, work these types of testimonials in to help build a culture of celebration and inspiration.
What do you do to inspire your teams? How has inspiration affected the overall success of your organization? Let us know in the comments section below!
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