Inspiring Leaders

Inspiring Leaders

By Traci Scherck, MPA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

What does it mean to inspire someone? The Oxford English Dictionary defines inspire as – to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

It can become overwhelming when you are trying to check off all of the boxes by yourself, but what you may not realize is that things will run much smoother if you work with your team. How do you pay attention to the specific needs of your team while remaining authentic to yourself and integrating all aspects of life?

Inspiring Leaders Through Authenticity

One of the ways as a leader to remain authentic to yourself is to look at an analogy of a battery.  A new battery is fully charged, the longer a battery is used the more depleted it gets, unless it is consciously recharged.  How charged are you?  As the batteries wear down, they do not operate at peak performance; this is how we are when we are running from task to task in work and life. According to Gallup, “the engagement of managers is critical because they set the tone for the engagement of the people who report to them — managers affect 70% of the variance in team engagement.” There are many ways to ensure that we as managers are charging our batteries.

  1. Exercise – do you get enough every day?
  2. Eating healthy – are you eating food the fuels your body or the fun and easy food that leaves you tired and groggy?
  3. Do you have alignment with your job – are you in the right job for you?
  4. Culture – Are you energized by how work is being done in the organization and how you interact with your team and leadership?
  5. Work/Life balance – do you feel like you have a good balance, and do you have the time to do the things that you enjoy outside of work?
  6. Department goals – how do you feel about your department goals, and do you feel that you can achieve them, or do you feel that they are not achievable?
  7. What else can you build into your day to day to recharge your batteries?

Inspiring Leaders Create Trust On Their Teams

All of these ways that we charge our batteries are great, but we also need to look at the other side of this, things that deplete our batteries. How can we turn these roadblocks or speed bumps into a strategy for success? Break them down into small steps to big wins. Then it is time to execute those steps!
Results?  Creating trust on your team which allows everyone to succeed. According to the University of Norte Dame there are three important factors to creating trust:

  1. Ability – is where you are able to do what you say you can do
  2. Benevolence – a person being trusted wants to do good for the person trusting them. “If I perceive you would never do anything to purposely hurt me, I have a higher probability of trusting you.”
  3. Integrity – My perception that you adhere to a set of principles that I find acceptable

Once we have created trust in our teams, we then need to ensure that we are providing clarity in the work to be done that helps everyone perform at a higher level. As a manager when you provide clarity you are communicating with your team members in the way they need to be communicated with so that they have everything they need to be successful. You can use these steps to start providing clarity for your team, right away.

  1. The starting point is to clarify what is the strategy.
  2. Are you creating a new product or service?
  3. Who will utilize your new product or service?
  4. How will the new product or service be used?
  5. Think about whether you need to bring the entire team together in one location or can things be done from different locations.
  6. As you are working will you need to optimize processes?

The Importance Of Communication

Communication is an integral part in inspiring your leaders and teams. When communicating we need to ensure that we are being transparent and creating trust with our teams. This allows us to create a culture of mutual respect. Most of us have heard of the Golden Rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated. Yet, does this really work for everyone? No, it does not because we are all different. This is where we need to lead with the Platinum Rule – Treat others the way that they want to be treated. There is a big difference in these two rules and how it affects the way we communicate with our teams. Now it is time to ask yourself, “Are you communicating the way that each individual needs to be communicated with?”

The key in communication is to know those that you are communicating with and ensure that you are communicating in the way that they need. Do you communicate better in writing while others love to communicate verbally?  Have you included accountability for yourself and those you are communicating with?  If not, here is a quick 3 step guide to accountability in communication.

  1. How Much – What are the deliverables that need to be done?
  2. Of What? – What needs to be done?
  3. By When? – What is the deadline that the above needs to be done by?

When you are able to be authentic with your team, you can help to create inspiration in your leaders and teams. Check out our podcast on this topic here.