Inspiring your team is worth the effort. We spend gobs of time in 1:1’s, meetings and work in a generally uninspired state. I sit with executives, managers, VPs and others in leadership positions urging them to consider what it would look like to inspire their team to greatness. As employee engagement levels are at an all time low and as the economy seems to be striking fear into employees, now is the time to be a leader that inspires their team to become more than they are today.
I was getting ready to watch the Lincoln movie last weekend and I thought to myself, “Why this fascination with President Lincoln?” The movie theatre was packed to the gills and people were ingesting loads of popcorn and on the edge of their seats. I left feeling inspired by his life and leadership.
The reason we are so fascinated with President Lincoln is because at the depths of our souls lies a heightened need to be inspired. Additionally, I believe that Americans are longing to be led well and be around exceptional leadership. I would call this season in America a “leadership drought.”
How do you inspire your team? Here are three suggestions:
1. Focus on The Cause: As your team ventures off toward the work and objectives remember to take them back to the cause. If you do not have one, take time to document one. Patrick Lencioni in The Advantage states that a foundational question for any team to answer is “Why are we here?” A cause is simply your preferred future or reason for being. A cause is inspiring.
2. Story Telling: Share wins with your team often. This should start with you as the leader. Avoid just sharing the win, talk about why it was meaningful to you and why you come into work each day. Leaders are able to share a story that may not be directly about the task at hand and connect it with organizational values.
3. Meaningful 1:1s: Imagine how much better your team could perform if you were engaged in the lives of your team. What I mean is, do they recognize that they are a valuable part of the team and make an important contribution? Have you taken time as their leader to find out what is inspiring to them? Hmmm…Might be time to engage in some conversation and skip the spreadsheet or data report hoping it will move your team forward.
Think back to President Lincoln and the movie. He is inspirational for many reasons. He definitely had a strong sense of purpose when you look at what it took to pass the 13th Amendment, his team had a shared purpose to pass that Amendment, end the war and get re-elected. He used his exceptional, caring and interpersonal sensitivity to inspire his people. In fact, it was through his personal tragedies that he gained the ability to become the inspirational and relational leader he is known for.
What do you do to inspire your team?