Yes, one of the reasons that we all go to work each day is to make money. BUT….is the idea of paying your bills very inspiring? Is increasing your company’s annual profit from 20% to 25% going to motivate your people to go the extra mile for your customers? Probably not… The best way to inspire performance is to create an inspiring workplace built on values and ideas. A company’s culture needs to tug at the heart strings of your people, and connect with your employees on a visceral, emotional level so that they want to innovate, serve the customers, and reach their potential.
This is one of the reasons that true leadership is so powerful. No employee wants to feel like they are being managed. It makes me shudder whenever I hear a VP or Director leave a voicemail for one of their direct reports, and say something like “if you can get me that report by Friday, that would be great.” The word great is so over used in corporate circles that it is a personal pet peeve, but on top of that…why is the VP having to manage the employee to that level. Why not empower the employee by asking them to create a quarterly reporting schedule. If the report is not delivered when expected, ask them “about the date of their schedule”. By having your managers know how to coach and lead a team, this is a powerful lever to creating a world-class culture that will make you money as an indirect result. Lots of it!
Inspiring leadership is authentic leadership. Several studies have shown that leaders who display a healthy sense of self-effacing humor are more respected and trusted than more “somber leaders.” There is an exceptionally strong link between trust and humor, and between authenticity and humor. Leaders need to have a people centric attitude, and show their team that they know they are not perfect, that they make mistakes (and learn from them!), and that people can feel comfortable approaching them as they are “real” and can be trusted . Humour is a value that connects people, and it is so under utilized in the workplace. Appropriate humour can relieve employee stress, and make work a more fun environment, and build trust faster and more effectively than any “team building exercise”. Humour at work is the best relationship builder, and according to leadership expert, Michael Kerr, ironically leaders who have mastered safe humour are more respected and taken more seriously by their subordinates as a result.
This morning came across an awesome website that inspired me: http://www.workinspiration.com.au/inspiring-workplaces/ This site offers video case studies of how large and small employers have created a workplace inspiration program. The program is directed to youth and engages young people on the career path possibilities with their organization. It offers development activities where youth can self assess their personality and strengths, and consider what type of positions they might be a good fit and can consider applying for that organization. I think this is brilliant as when I was in high school I remember that confusing feeling of thinking what do I do now? The guidance counsellor offered a brief anecdote of how he wanted to be a professional baseball player, but realized that it was not realistic so became a guidance counsellor instead. It certainly didn’t clarify career paths for me, and it left me less than inspired.
Employers can benefit from creating their own inspiring workplace campaign by attracting youth as future star employees, and raising brand awareness at the same time. If you would like assistance designing and facilitating a work inspiration program, contact Higher Talent today. www.highertalent.ca
Susan Power, Owner & CEO, Higher Talent Inc.