When you look out on your workers, what do you see? Is it a team of hard-workers who love what they do or a group of professionals just trying to get through their day?
Either way, it could have a lot more to do with you than you might think.
You may have hired the perfect team with extensive experience and a proven track record, but if their enthusiasm is waning, it may be time to re-evaluate your management style.
To help you rethink your leadership strategy, we’ve created a helpful list of 10 easy ways to inspire your staff, keeping them motivated and ready to take on any challenge.
1. Stop micromanaging
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. If your employees feel like they constantly have someone looking over their shoulder, they’ll be too nervous to try new things, which limits their potential.
By taking a step back and giving your team more autonomy, you’re showing that you have faith in their ability to get the job done, which can inspire them to give it their all.
2. Make it safe to fail
If your staff are too scared of failing, how can you expect them to create new and innovative ideas?
Failure is a natural by-product of risk-taking and shouldn’t be portrayed as something heinous. Without trying out new ideas, businesses won’t be able to keep up with competitors and will remain stagnant.
So, instead of pressuring employees to work without making mistakes – which is an impossible feat – you should encourage outside-the-box thinking.
Yes, there will be times when ideas fall flat, but if your team are too scared to try, they’ll never improve.
3. Invest in your employees
Putting your customers first is a popular saying for businesses, but if you really want your company to grow, it’s your staff that should be your number one concern. Investing into your staff to help them get the career they want does wonders for their loyalty and productivity in the long run — and you’ll reap the benefits for it.
Consider setting up a competitive pension pot or ensuring each individual has a dedicated progression plan. You don’t need to make drastic changes to your business; just ensure your employees know that they are integral to the company. After all, you’d be nowhere without them.
4. Give them purpose
It’s easy to give employees more responsibility, but why stop there? Rather than simply assuming staff want a larger workload, give them something they can really sink their teeth into.
If you know a team member isn’t being utilised to their full potential, give them a renewed sense of purpose with an exciting new project to break up the day-to-day grind. Having control over a task helps to inspire people to do whatever it takes to make it a success.
Make sure you let them finish it, though: seeing a project through from start to finish is extremely rewarding.
5. Include them in big decisions
You may be at the top of the corporate ladder, but your employees are just as much a part of the company as you are.
Instead of telling them what direction the business is going, let them get involved in the decision making. Asking for their opinion instils a sense of belonging and a feeling that they matter.
This doesn’t mean you should let people make whatever changes they want, but it does mean employees should have their say in decisions that affect the company they dedicate so much of their time too. For example, you could empower them to make the call on the next step on a key strategy or let them lead the discussion with a potential candidate for a new role.
6. Recognise good work
Everyone loves recognition. Being recognised for a job well done not only makes us feel good, but it lets us know that we’re making the right decisions in our work and encourages us to keep going.
Offer someone praise in a way that suits their personality. Public praise is great, but if your employees don’t like to be the centre of attention, pointing out their successes in front of the whole office isn’t the most tactful approach. Instead, a thoughtful email would be more appreciated, or even better, grab them for a quick 1-2-1 when they’re free to congratulate them personally.
7. Be transparent
Trust goes both ways: it’s not enough for you to show you trust your team, they need to trust you too. So, ditch the buzzwords and speak openly with your employees. They know you’re the boss; you don’t need to try and impress them.
Regularly update your team on important business metrics — yes, even the frightening ones. Make sure it’s a space where people can ask questions and don’t get defensive answers. This not only shows a level of trust but also helps solidify a company-wide bond. You’re essentially saying that you’re all in it together and outlining what you can do as a team to reach mutual success.
8. Give employees ownership
If you tell an employee that they are accountable for how well a task performs, all you’re doing is conjuring up a fear of failure and the inevitable repercussions that will fall on their head. Instead of giving people accountability, give them ownership of their work.
This isn’t just a case of using positive terminology, you need to truly let your team own what they do for the business. Let them spread their wings creatively, giving them the freedom to try new ideas and really put their heart into their work; creating something they can be proud of.
9. Put your people first
Employees are the lifeblood of any business, so it only makes sense to put your team above all else. Implementing benefits like competitive maternity and paternity leave is a sure-fire way to show your staff that your business doesn’t hold more importance than the people who work for it.
Allowing annual leave for charity days is another great way to inspire loyalty in your workers. You’re showing them that you’re happy to allow them to take time out of their business hours to support a good cause that means something to them. This also helps you build stronger relationships with your team, as you’ll have a greater understanding of what makes them tick, rather than just their job role.
10. Have fun!
If you want to keep your staff inspired, you need to show them you’re a human rather than just an authority figure. By having a laugh and getting stuck in with your team, you’re showing that you’re all on the same team – after all, you work hard together, so play hard together.
How you inject fun into your office is down to you and the workplace culture you want to create for your business. Some managers choose to add pool tables or table football to their breakrooms, whereas others have a Friday afternoon office social to wind down from the week. It’s more than just the occasional get-together though, as creating a fun work environment in your day-to-day business will help nurture creativity and instill a positive office attitude.
by Suzanne Haughton, Recruitment Consultant for Love Energy Savings