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Five ways to inspire your workforce

A company is only as productive as its staff, so here are five easy actions for managers and leaders that will significantly change your workplace culture for the better.

 Put the most into your team and expect the most out

Taking constantly isn’t the way to get the best from people, but then neither is giving all of the time. A leader that doesn’t expect anything from their team can actually be worse than someone with unrealistically high expectations. Get to know your workforce, get to know what they can do when they’re working at their very best and then tell them how good they are. Let them know they have a lot to give and that you expect to see that. Often the first obstacle to success is lack of self-belief, and by letting them know that you believe they can do great things, you’re helping your employees to succeed.

 Be the first to get motivated and the last to get stressed

A bit of a modification on the old leading by example cliché. Being the first to arrive and the last to leave is great, but leading by example is as much about how you feel as how you work. When starting a new project, many of the team may be looking at the huge amount of work to do before there’s any payoff, but you’re thinking of the interesting new challenges to take up. As that deadline approaches, the workforce may see the minutes ticking away while you see the systems ticking along like clockwork. You’re the positive force at the centre of the team, motivating by example.

Give sincere, constructive feedback

Being positive means letting people know when and how they’re doing well and being honest but constructive when things are going badly. Taking good performance for granted is all too easy, as is taking bad performance personally, so remember to acknowledge achievements and missteps in the workplace regularly and calmly. In both cases, examine the good and bad aspects of the performance, how everything can be resolved and what can be learned. There’s no such thing as a perfect success or an absolute failure.

 Have regular, team-focused meetings

Team meetings can be great places to share inspiration and feedback, as long as they really are team focused. These work best as places where everyone feels confident to chip in, give feedback, make suggestions and highlight issues. This may seem obvious, but far too many ‘team’ meetings end up as a lecture from the manager about his or her issues. It is important for the manager to lead, but doing so without a full discussion can leave people feeling demotivated and left behind.

Break big projects and big challenges down into small achievable goals

Not only does this take the weight off the shoulders of your workforce by breaking down the workload, it can also reduce complex problems into simpler ones that are often easier to solve. A team that was all stuck on the same big problem can suddenly become inspired by new solutions.

 

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