Inspiring and influencing staff to do their best work is an essential skill for any leader looking to develop high-performing teams.
But inspiring and influencing staff can be challenging and time-consuming, even for the most seasoned leaders.
What does it take to be the type of leader who fires people up and makes them want to perform at their highest level? Below are some tips that can help you achieve this.
1. Energize the team.
Inject energy into your team by showing your genuine passion for your product, your company and the work you and your team do. Inspiring and influencing staff about the work would be very difficult if you're not inspired yourself.
Try helping people see what's great about the project they're working on or how what they're doing is benefiting others. Periodically reminding people of the greater purpose behind their work can be powerful in encouraging them to go the extra mile.
Another way to energize your team is to pay attention to your moods. A leader's bad mood can be the dimmer switch of performance. It can infect everyone and sap the energy out of a team.
2. Show genuine appreciation.
Genuine appreciation can be a powerful factor in influencing and inspiring staff to produce great work.
That's where a good employee recognition program can help.
A 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey polled 738 randomly selected HR professionals from a wide range of U.S. industries in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer categories. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed report that employee recognition programs help increase employee engagement.
But recognition programs don't always have to be formal or expensive. Just don't let accomplishments go unnoticed.
Think of ways to celebrate, whether it's the successful completion of important milestones, a product launch or the end of long hours working on a project. Celebrations can be as simple as pizza for lunch or lattes for everyone in the department.
3. Find ways to amplify people's successes.
Any time you show sincere pride in the team's efforts and contributions, that's a prime opportunity for inspiring and influencing staff.
This can be as simple as a mention in the company intranet or e-newsletter, a celebratory tweet with the team's photograph or even a quick YouTube or Facebook video of the team's successful project.
4. Create a foundation of trust for inspiring and influencing staff.
A feeling of trust is vital for inspiring and influencing staff to give you the best of what they have to offer.
In an age of skepticism, trust rules. When people trust you, they may become more receptive to your influence. To help you gauge their level of trust, consider these three questions:
- Do people trust that you have their best interest at heart?
- Do they trust that there's no hidden agenda?
- Do they trust that you're telling them the truth?
Trust is also a fine balance between propelling people out of their comfort zone to help them grow while at the same time showing sensitivity to their feelings. This makes people feel heard and understood, a prerequisite for inspiring and influencing them.
Consider spending time forging personal connections with people. Make them feel that they're trusted. When trust is mutual, it opens a wide portal for inspiring and influencing staff.
5. Make offering mobile technology a priority.
A 2016 global study by The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 1,865 full-time employees working in a variety of industries across nine countries (including the U.S. and the UK).
The study revealed that employees who considered their companies as “mobile pioneers," that is, companies who use mobile technology well, scored higher than those "workers who say their employer's use of mobile is 'bad.'" The difference was 16 percent for productivity, 23 percent for employee satisfaction and 21 percent for loyalty. Participants also rated highly organizations that offered such services as IT support for employee-owned mobile devices and permitted the use of mobile communication apps for work purposes.
According to the study, companies seeking to boost employee productivity and satisfaction may want to pursue mobile strategies that support the ability to work anywhere at any time. Mobile technology enhances the employee experience as it supports the new ways of working (read: remote, flexible) that employees increasingly value.
A happier, more engaged and productive employee may be that much more receptive to your proposed workplace strategies.
6. Manage the mood in the team.
One of your chief responsibilities as a leader is managing the mood in the team.
To that end, try to be vigilant for the effect that one bad team member can have on the mood of the entire team. A team member who puts recognition of self before the team, for example, can demotivate others on the team. And a team member who is negative or has a disengaged attitude can have a corresponding effect on other team members.
You may want to screen potential team members carefully, evaluating not only their technical and other hard skills, but their emotional intelligence as well.
If you find yourself in a situation where one bad apple rolled through the door, don't delay stepping in to rectify the situation before it affects the productivity of the team. You could, for example, give the team member effective feedback to address their negative behaviors. Bad behavior can be like a virus: It can spread and infect the entire team. You owe it to your team to do something about it.
Inspiring and influencing staff can be a powerful way to get your team to do their best work. Inspired employees are not only more likely to be satisfied and productive—they're also more likely to inspire others around them.
Read more articles on motivating employees.