Inspire Your Employees Now
Use the spirit of inspiration as the currency of your daily interactions with workers, and their morale will surge
Maintaining and increasing positive employee spirit is not easy when workers are worried about their names surfacing on a short list of cuts. But even in such times, when people are fearing for their jobs, I have seen creative managerial approaches to helping people feel better about their lives at work. For example, having executive dunking booths, on-site massages, and my favorite, American Idol tryouts at work. These kinds of activities can serve as a nice break in the middle of a highly stressful day. But I want to challenge you to deal in a new currency for a more positive long-term effect. Begin using the currency of inspiration to raise employee spirit in a tough economy.
In the Most Inspiring Companies survey--conducted by my firm, Inspiration Blvd., in April 2010--1,700 people indicated that whether their inspirational encounter was with a company, a charity, or an individual, the outcome was always the same: Each one wanted to be a better person at home and work. Imagine what could happen if there was a corporate initiative to begin creating a culture of inspiration. No dangled carrots. No negative manipulation. Instead, an entire corporate culture in which people are inspired. You can make it happen via four basic inspirational principles.
Most people do not know the name Hattie Mae Lee. But everyone has heard of Oprah, Lee's granddaughter. Oprah Winfrey is who she is today because a devoted grandmother cast a vision for her life. Take a moment and reflect on who inspired you to be who you are and what they said that inspired you. Now play that same role with your team members. Speak into their lives what you see in their futures. As Hattie Mae Lee did, cast a vision for your team and encourage them never, ever to compromise on their dreams and aspirations.
Every time a customer becomes very unhappy, it's a teachable moment. The next time you lose a pitch for new business, turn it into a teachable moment. When personnel conflict begins to manifest itself, do not miss the opportunity to turn the circumstance into a valuable lesson. This has become commonplace among my team whenever anything challenging surfaces. It will work for you, too. Be spontaneous in pulling your team together to focus even for just 10 minutes on what may be a teachable moment. Encourage everyone to participate. As they do, you will see the fear of failure shrink and the spirit of innovation thrive.
Teach, and some may learn. Lead, and some may follow. Inspire, and they will never be the same.
About the Author:
Terry Barber is a speaker and corporate trainer based in Atlanta, GA. For the past 20 years, he has been a consultant to nonprofits on how to inspire their constituents to give and get involved. Some of the organizations he served include Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Duke Cancer Center, AARP Foundation, and the ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease) Association. For more information, visit www.inspirationblvd.com.