It is February, and that means love is in the air. We at Cygnet love celebrating Valentine’s, but this year we’re thinking about more than just how grateful we are for our loved ones. As a recruitment agency, we believe it is essential that you love what you do, and if you are in any leadership position, it is important that your team loves their work too. We want to help you find creative ways to inspire your team members – whether you are leading a small side project or a company – to feel passionate about their work!
Have Clear Expectations
One mistake leaders can make is assuming that those they lead know what is needed. This can lead to confusion, making your team feel lost and unmotivated.
It may feel wildly simple, but the best thing you can do for your team is to be clear about what you expect from them.
If you have tight deadlines, communicate this to your team. Don’t beat around the bush and expect them to magically know how quickly you need work turned around. If you need work formatted a certain way, help your team understand why and how to accomplish what you are looking for.
Clarity from a leadership perspective leads to teams that operate smoothly. No one has to second guess what is required of them, and all members can execute their job functions with less oversight and more efficiency.
Take a moment to think about a team you lead. Do you feel you are constantly trying to motivate them to do their work? Do you feel you need to have many corrective conversations? Ask yourself if you have outlined your expectations clearly to your team. If not, list what you need and want from your team, and let them know what is on your list and why.
Delegate Important Tasks
You are probably a team leader because you have worked very hard at your job and have been proven responsible for the work you have been given. Another trap team leaders can fall into is what we like to call “do-it-myself” mode. This is when a leader gets the idea that to have work done correctly; it is better if they just do it. Unfortunately, when leading a team, this can cause employees to feel uninvolved in their work and as if their leader does not trust them. Lack of motivation and disinterest are sure to follow.
To inspire your team, you must allow your team to actually work! And you must do more than give your team busy work. You must give them tasks that will challenge them and require them to think creatively.
Handing important tasks to your team shows that you trust them and will allow them to feel that they are contributing to the work you all do.
Give Positive Feedback
Some leaders think their employees are doing a great job but neglect to tell them. When leading a team, be positive and give lots of encouragement. Vocalizing the excellent work you see will inspire goodwill and make them feel appreciated.
This is always a good thing.
But don’t just praise to praise. When you give feedback, make sure you are being specific. Don’t just say that a job was well done; explain why it was well done and how it benefited the team and the company. This will let them feel great about the work they have done and will cause them to be more enthusiastic about future tasks you have for them.
Create a Healthy Work Environment
Employees who feel cared for are more likely to express job satisfaction, feel committed to their company, and be engaged in their work. Many things go into creating a great work environment. Here are a few suggestions that are relatively easy to implement:
Encourage Healthy Habits - Incentivize getting outside, joining a gym, doing workplace meditation, eating healthy, and so on. You can have contests among your team or provide space for this in the office.
Encourage Team Culture - Your team will work better if they feel close to one another. This does not mean they need to be best friends outside of work, but the team should feel like they know who they are working alongside. Create opportunities for your team to get to know one another outside of the job tasks you need them to accomplish.
Respect Work Hours - Let your team work within their contracted hours, and then respect their time when they head to their respective homes. If your employees feel that you respect their time, they will be more likely to engage in the work you do.
Listen to your Team
Finally, listening and responding to your team’s ideas is an excellent way to inspire them. One factor that can lead to employees feeling unsatisfied in their positions is they do not feel they are allowed to contribute meaningfully to their work. Within the team you are leading, create space for team members to express their ideas – and then listen to and act upon these ideas!
Being in charge does not automatically make every idea of yours the best one. We are put on teams because we are better together. One employee may have a different perspective on a project, and allowing each team member to contribute their unique insights will make them feel a part of the team rather than just cogs in the machine.
You don’t have to run with every single brainstorm your team pitches, but don’t just listen to an idea and then run with your plan instead. On a team, you must allow your members to contribute, which sometimes means you let your vision shift with the team's creativity.
Love What You Do!
Take a moment to reflect on the team you lead this Valentine's season. Maybe you feel they are inspired and are working hard together – take a moment to celebrate your team. If you feel like inspiration has been hard to come by, reflect on your leadership strategies and see if there is anything you can do differently. It may be as simple as handing off a few more tasks or being freer with your praise! Hopefully, this season of love leads your team to love what they do!