What would you say if I asked you what your main objective as a manager was? You'd probably answer that it was to delegate tasks, oversee projects and if there's time, confidently lead your team to success. It seems reasonable, but considering all that you do, how much time is spent actively inspiring your team members?
Inspiration. The word alone feels fuzzy. It's a word reserved for TED Talks and motivational quotes. Yet, according to Jeremy Kingsley, your job as a leader -- be it a manager or CEO -- is to inspire others. Of course, that doesn't mean that you need to wear a crown or sash promoting yourself as Chief Inspiration Officer. It does, however, mean that it's your responsibility to encourage others to think bigger, work smarter, and produce better results.
In Kingsley's book Inspired People Produce Results: How Great Leaders Use Passion, Purpose, and Principle to Unlock Incredible Growth, he encourages you to ask yourself "Do my employees know I care about them and their success?" Your answer, he says, will be an indication that you're a passionate leader (or not).
I know what you're thinking -- 'I don't have the time to be a passionate, inspired leader.' It's not that you don't want to, it's that maybe you don't know how. Just as how we socialize in the new millennium is changing how we work, so are the types of people you'll be managing. Millennials need more than just a job to feel satisfied. They expect to feel passionate about their work and connected to the cause. Unless you can inspire them, you're going to lose them, which is a shame, because they know how to innovate.
Kingsley understands the limitations and challenges the modern leader faces and he's here to help. Here are a few basic tips to help you inspire more without working harder (or longer).
Inspire, Don't Intimidate
You're just like your team members, except you're their manager. No one likes a know-it-all or someone who acts better than others, so show your team that everyone has the ability to succeed in a variety of ways.
Make an Impact Overtime
Inspiration takes time and can be completed by consistently motivating your staff members to do their best. Kingsley says that establishing a new attitude and approach over time can affect generations of workers.
Engage Your Team
We talk a lot about how to engage customers and external partners, but how much time do you spend engaging members of your team? Initiating employee engagement can be as simple as explaining the story and vision behind a project or giving your team members opportunities to try and discover new things.
You Can't Afford Not to Inspire Others
There are a million excuses as to why you can't or won't incorporate inspiring acts into your management style, but the truth is that when people have passion and purpose, work doesn't seem like work. That doesn't mean we all have to love every moment of our jobs. Rather it means that when we realize that we're working towards something remarkable, we tend to want to work harder.
Not everyone can be an Tony Robbins, but everyone can find a way to inspire someone else. Take an active interest in a team member. Listen to what others are saying an learn from it. Find a way to encourage your employees to work on new things. For some companies it can the difference between treading water and finding new ways to innovate. At Google, they allowed workers to spend twenty-percent of their time in other projects. It worked so well that it has become ingrained in the culture, without it actually being a formal program.
Kingsley reinforces elements that originally manifested in the empowered employee era. Thanks to the commercialization of IT, employees felt inspired to bring what they knew about personal document sharing, social media and online collaboration into their workspace. The era of the empowered employee coupled with an inefficient economy, unfortunately gave way to an era of overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated employees. It's time to feel inspired again. It's time for large companies to get back to their roots, while young start-ups can get fired up thinking about the future. A little inspiration can go a long way, so imagine what can happen if you're able to leverage the passion of you team on a regular basis.
image credit: Shutterstock / afekung