Reflect for a moment on how well you are able to influence the choices other people make. Do you inspire people to think and behave in ways needed to succeed? Do you motivate those on your team to follow your lead and strive to achieve? Do you help people to see opportunity, to believe in their potential and keep going when confronted with obstacles and challenges?
Your ability to influence the way your team members think, feel and act will determine how well you leverage their talent and energy.
7 essential steps to inspire others
Build strong relationships
Your ability to influence other people depends entirely on their willingness to let you do so. The depth of trust and respect people feel toward you ultimately determines how open to your influence they are. Building strong relationships begins with knowing yourself. Understand and take responsibility for the impact your approach has on how other people feel and respond. Each of the steps described below is essential to building quality relationships.
Model successful behaviour
Great leaders recognise that the way they behave matters. Showcasing the behaviours you need and want from others is essential to building a high-performance culture. Most people look to leaders to set positive examples and demonstrate successful approaches. Understand that while you will have bad days, behaving poorly undermines your ability to inspire and lead others well.
The simple truth is that if you want people to follow, you will need to demonstrate a willingness and ability to lead. Trust is built not only on your character but also on the competence you bring to your role. Let people know that you understand what it takes for the team to succeed. Show that you recognise the challenges ahead and know how to tackle them. Lead with confidence and people are more likely to get on board for the journey.
Create a compelling and confident vision of the future
Explore with your team the future you want to create. Show your people where you want to go and how you intend to get there. Most importantly, share with them why your organisation does what it does. Build a picture of purpose and optimism. Help your people see why your business matters and the role you need them to play to turn vision into reality. Set meaningful objectives and people are much more likely to strive to achieve them.
Aiming for easily achievable outcomes is unlikely to inspire people to achieve their full potential. While it’s important that your goals be realistic, aiming high is essential when motivating people to give more than the average contribution. Create an environment in which people are encouraged to challenge the way things are done, and make it safe for them to do so. Allow people to explore possibilities, challenge conventional wisdom and give things a go.
Build a healthy workplace culture
The environment in which people work unquestionably influences the strength of their spirit and desire to succeed. Set clear expectations and hold people accountable for behaving in ways that enable their own success and that of their colleagues. As a baseline, expect people to treat one another with respect and decency. Focus on the personal accountability every member of your team must take for their own conduct and the impact that has on the rest your team.
You can reasonably hold people accountable only for those things you have allowed them to do. Put simply, it’s unfair to expect anyone to take full responsibility for outcomes if you haven’t empowered them. While guiding and coaching are essential, so too is empowering people to play their roles. Allow people to contribute to decisions made along the way and they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership.
Let people know what you expect, then let them make decisions about how they go about meeting your expectations.