There are many ways to effectively lead and inspire a team, but the bottom line is trust. When you trust someone, you believe in them. Employees are inspired when they know that their leaders believe in their capability to deliver results.
Inspiring employees to optimal performance requires a leader to see beyond the obvious in people and bring out their best by acknowledging their individual passions, goals, aspirations and motivators. This is accomplished not by simply managing, but by leading via example. When you look at a team, it’s easy to spot the difference.
- Have no need to micromanage. They are backed by a fully committed group who understands the importance of collaboration toward a common goal. These leaders guide, facilitate and supply resources and support. Then they let their superstars run with their ideas and innovations.
- Expect hard work, but personally match that level of dedication. If you want people to go the extra mile for you, then be prepared to help them every step of the way.
- Communicate. The best leaders know how to convey to team members exactly what is expected of them at all times. Communication is a two-way process. They express themselves clearly and then they actively listen as employees provide feedback.
- Show no favoritism. For a team to succeed, everyone needs confidence that they’ll receive the same kind and level of treatment.
- Make and stick to decisions, even under pressure. When a crisis arises, the worst thing a manager can do is nothing at all.
Leadership Do’s and Don’ts
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to earn trust, build loyalty and stimulate individual or team performance. But there are some premises to set you on the right path to stellar leadership.
- Solve, don’t sell. Instead of selling employees on why their performance must improve, explain how their contributions help to solve problems and enhance the company. Show the outcome of their efforts. For instance, visit a manufacturing plant and watch a new product on the assembly line or go to store and see a new label on the shelves. It’s not only about what you’re trying to sell, but also about what the team is able to solve along the way.
- Teach, don’t lecture. Employees are tired of being told what to do. They want to learn, remain relevant and benefit from coaches and leaders who pay attention. Help your team members to do their jobs well by providing the right tools. Be a great teacher, then shift into facilitator mode.
Empower Your Employees
The best leaders know the individual tendencies and behaviors of each one of their employees. This leads to heightened levels of autonomy, ownership and empowerment.
- Spend meaningful time with your team members. Pay attention. Listen and ask questions. Show that you care about their aspirations and concerns, so they stay engaged and productive.
- Let them get their hands dirty. Employees want to make an impact. Make them part of developing and implementing ideas that come to life. The best team members will instinctively challenge themselves to be more innovative – and innovation inspires performance.
- Evaluate both success and significance. For instance, if “sales” is an employee performance category and a person has delivered at 90 percent of plan, that’s success. Take it a step further by measuring the significance of sales generated. Did 90 percent generate enough revenue to contribute to a community outreach plan as the result of a local market push? When you highlight the significance of someone’s performance, you inspire even greater accomplishments.
Be more than just a boss. Be a leader. It’s an ongoing commitment and it may be daunting at first, but it will be well worth the return on your investment. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the workforce development team at BrainWorks today.