10 ways to inspire your team

Think about it for a minute – who inspired you the most?

A great sports star often inspires others to take to the sport. A colossus like Mahatma Gandhi inspired a whole nation to follow his path of Satyagraha.  A Mother Teresa inspired kindness and compassion in millions. A call by Anna Hazare got thousands out on the street. For many, it is a parent whose actions inspired. Or just maybe, it was a boss at work who inspired you to be a better professional.

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Inspiration always germinates with an individual. As a Team leader, you have a unique opportunity to inspire. Here are 10 ways how:

1. Servant Leadership:
Welcome to “Servant Leadership”. Setting goals is just a task. To inspire, you need to show people how they will reach from point A to point B – and make them believe it is truly possible.

2. The Power of a Vision:
Paint a vision of what would be truly seen as a remarkable achievement for the team. Think S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Achievable, Measurable, Relevant & Time bound) goals & think Kennedy. His vision “To put a man on the moon by the end of the decade” had the power to shake-up a whole nation to achieve something truly remarkable.

3. Management by Walking Around (MBWA):
A very old term that has weathered the onslaught of many new fads and fancies is MBWA. It means watching & listening closely – and hence learning from the people on the field. It means sharing your dreams as a leader with people on the field & how they can help make it a reality. It means having open discussions.

4. Find excuses to Cheer:
Cheering is the secret sauce that can create a spirit of camaraderie so strong that the act of supporting each other becomes second nature, where the vast majority of pettiness and finger pointing stops. Nurture it, reward it, make it a part of every day.

5. Genuinely Build People:
It costs nothing to tell people how they’re doing. Recognizing what they’re doing well, and also giving ideas on how they can work even better, goes a long way. We always remember that special teacher who took a personal interest in us, long after we have left school.

6. Take the flak ALWAYS:
Regardless of the situation or who was responsible, take the flak for your team ALWAYS. When you take the bullet, you show your team that you’ve got their back. Nothing inspires a team more than a leader they can trust blindly like that. Having done that though, alone with your team – dissect the issue and bury it for good.

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7. Roll up your sleeves: When you work with the team in the areas where you can contribute, you send a strong message because you are showing that you are part of the team with your actions. A leader in the trenches is worth five at corporate headquarters!

8. Get the free-riders off the team:
Nothing brings down a team like slackers. When people aren’t pulling their weight, it makes it tougher for the rest. When you remove people who aren’t performing, it improves morale because it shows your team that you’re serious about the best results. Think Jack Welch and his incredible passion for high performance.

9. DWYSYWD:
It is far more important to walk the talk than simply talk the talk! Do What You Say You Will Do. Credibility is the fundamental ingredient needed for people to follow you and be inspired by you. If you can’t believe the messenger, you won’t believe the message.

10. Create Team Memories:
Never under-estimate the rejuvenating power of FUN. Team building programs which mix a healthy dose of FUN with some learning, introspection and discussions for all team members – often injects a freshness and openness in the team. Team memories created at such events give people every reason to laugh out loud. Nothing bonds people like laughing out together! Let the sound of laughter inspire your team to be the best they can be.

All the best in your journey to inspire your team…. do share your experiences too!

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