My experience with clients has made me realise that a very small percentage of company presidents, managers and supervisors truly inspire their team. They might build solid teams, set clear expectations and reach most of their goals, but they fail to inspire people to become better and really excel.
But the question is, if you’re building effective teams and getting good results, does inspiration really matter that much?
The answer depends on where you want your organisation to be. If you are happy with your current results and don’t mind replacing your best people every few years, I suggest stop reading further and get back to managing your team.
However, if you are interested in creating an organisation culture that exceeds expectations, keep reading.
In his book, “The 8th Habit–From Effectiveness to Greatness,” Stephen Covey points out that “Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” In other words, he believes leadership is primarily about inspiring others to reach their full potential.
OK, so inspiration is an important part of leadership, but why is it such an essential component in creating an outstanding organisation?
There are three key reasons. First, if you successfully inspire the most valuable members of your team, you will keep them from leaving. As it is their nature to continuously look for ways to improve. High achievers get bored with the status quo–no matter how satisfying it seems to everyone else. In addition, you will need these team members to assume leadership roles in the future as your organisation grows. Promoting average employees to key leadership roles in absence of best employees will eventually lead to low morale and anaemic growth.
Second, if you face challenging times–which every great company does–it will be your best employees that help you push through to the next level. You will need their enthusiasm, experience and intellect when trying to determine the best way to deal with difficult challenges. These people will not put in the extra hours for a leadership team that isn’t helping them to develop new skills and improve. However, they will do whatever it takes for those leaders who inspire them to reach their full potential.
Third, you would like to encourage these people to help your organisation think “outside of the box.” The truth is that remarkable companies need remarkable solutions in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. These answers are seldom found in the operations manual. They require a higher level of dedicated thinking, the kind of dedication you get from a talented employee who feels that your leadership is exactly what he/she needs to excel. Chances are slim you will get this effort from employees who just finished updating their resumes.
But, how do you inspire your team? It’s not easy, but if you are disciplined, most leaders can learn to inspire their staff. The best way to get started is to focus on the following simple steps:
- Clearly communicate your company’s vision to your team every single day. Most people will put in the extra effort if they know where they are going.
- Live, breathe and promote the company’s agreed values. Strong values hold the team together and encourages desired behaviours to take the organisation to next level.
- Identify the potential leaders on your team and focus your efforts on these individuals. This doesn’t mean that you ignore the rest of your staff, but, it is recommended that you dedicate the majority of your time to the individuals who have the potential to take your organisation to the next level.
- Find out what these key employees want. That is, help them to identify their own vision. Encourage them to develop their own personal development plan. Once you know what it is, provide them with opportunities to develop the skills necessary to realise their vision.
In today’s work environment, most leaders feel overwhelmed. The need to produce immediate results forces them to focus on the now, instead of considering the future.
My challenge to you is to be clear about where you are going and remember that, every time you inspire a member of your team, you likely have improved productivity, increased effort and helped to build the future of your remarkable company.
Adapted from Bard Sugars
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