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The 7 Principles for Inspiring Employees
Honesty, openness, and....
by Terry Barber (April 6, 2009)
With a suffering economy there is the temptation to operate in
fear. As scary as the situation may be, leaders have a great
opportunity and responsibility to be inspiring. Here are seven
principles for inspiring your employees that you can take action on
Implement one of these principles and make a difference.
Implement all seven and change the culture you live and work in.
1. Authenticity. Get out of the image management business for
yourself and your company. Share with the people in your
organization where you are weak. Verbally express just how much you
need them. Let them know that you know your limitations. Invite them
to partner with you to get through these difficult times.
2. Connect with Others' Dreams. Use these difficult times to
uncover the latent dreams and ambitions of your key talent. Tell
them you are more committed than ever to helping them get to where
they want to go. Be creative in aligning their tasks for today with
their dreams for tomorrow.
3. See in Others the Abilities They Don't See in Themselves.
Take time to be observant. Quit the craziness long enough to notice
the talent in those around you. This even works if you are trying to
manage up. This principle works best by breaking it down into three
steps: notice, name, and nurture. After you have noticed a talent or
strength in a person, let them know you noticed it and be specific
about what you noticed. Don't just say "I noticed you are a
hard worker." Rather, "I notice you care very deeply about
making sure the details are in order," or, "I notice you
are very articulate on that subject." Look for ways to bring
that talent out by providing opportunities and training to support
that particular talent.
4. Speak and Live with Credibility. I also refer to this
principle as leading with moral authority. It does not mean much for
you to say, "let's keep looking for the opportunity
ahead," while living in fear and operating with a scarcity
5. Inspire with Great Stories. This is the principle of
overhearing. This is not to be confused with the art of
storytelling. The emphasis here is looking and telling stories that
have a lesson. What can you learn from the story of a mountain
climber? What can you glean from the story of one who has gone from
rags to riches or better yet, from riches to rags? Pull your team
together today and use story to inspire.
6. Help People to Live on Purpose. Remind them that what
happens at work is only a portion of their life. As important as
that portion is, it is not all that there is to life. Help people
write down a vision statement for their life first and then for
their job. If work can be a conduit towards that vision for life,
7. Create a Culture of Inspiration. Following the example
of John Wooten, UCLA's iconic coach, become teachers committed to
excellence and character development. Chasing numbers and making
decisions by looking only at the "bottom line" causes us
to be reactive and impulsive.
Focusing on raising the inspiration factor through developing
people yields incredible value for stakeholders, customers, and
employees alike. Raising the inspiration factor one principle at a
time will change the culture of your organization. A company with a
high inspiration factor attracts and keeps good talent and its
employees forge long-term profitable relationships with customers.
(Note: Terry Barber is the Chief Inspirator for Grizzard
Communication Group. He primarily serves the non-profit healthcare
segment as well as colleges and universities in the subject area of
philanthropic branding. Some of the organizations he consults with
include Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Duke Cancer
Center, University of North Carolina's Lindberger Comprehensive
Cancer Center, and The Huntsman Cancer Center of Salt Lake, UT.
Barber is a popular speaker for corporate training and events, and
an inspirational resource to the nonprofit community and is known in
many circles as the Chief Inspirational Officer.
His new book, The Inspiration Factor, can be purchased
The website is www.inspirationblvd.com.)