When you look out on your colleagues, what do you see? Is it a team of hard-workers who love what they do, or a group of professionals just trying to get through their day? Either way, it could have a lot more to do with you than you might think
You may have the perfect team, with extensive experience and a proven track record but, if their enthusiasm is waning, it may be time to re-evaluate your management style. To help you rethink your leadership strategy, Love Energy Savings has created a helpful list of 10 easy ways to inspire your staff, keeping them motivated and ready to take on any challenge
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. If your employees feel like they constantly have someone looking over their shoulders, they’ll be too nervous to try new things, which limits their potential.
By taking a step back, and giving your team more autonomy, you’re showing that you have faith in their ability to get the job done – which can inspire them to give it their all.
Make it safe to fail
If your staff are too scared of failing, how can you expect them to create new and innovative ideas?
Failure is a natural by-product of risk-taking and shouldn’t be portrayed as something heinous; if you don’t try out new ideas, the school will remain stagnant.
So, instead of pressuring employees to work without making mistakes – which is an impossible feat – you should encourage them to be brave with their ideas. Yes, there will be times when ideas fall flat, but if your team are too scared to try, they’ll never improve.
Invest in your employees
Investing in your staff to help them get the career they want does wonders for their loyalty and productivity in the long run — and you’ll reap the benefits for it. Consider setting up a competitive pension pot, or ensuring each individual has a dedicated progression plan. You don’t need to make drastic changes; just ensure your employees know that they are integral to the school.
Give them purpose
It’s easy to give employees more responsibility – but why stop there? Rather than simply assuming staff want a larger workload, give them something they can really sink their teeth into. If you know a team member isn’t being utilised to their full potential, give them a renewed sense of purpose with an exciting new project to break up the day-to-day grind. Having control over a task helps to inspire people to do whatever it takes to make it a success. Make sure you let them finish it, though; seeing a project through from start to finish is extremely rewarding.
Include them in big decisions
You may be at the top of the ladder, but your employees are just as much a part of the school as you are. Instead of telling them what direction the school is going, let them get involved in the decision-making. Asking for their opinion instills a sense of belonging and a feeling that they matter.
This doesn’t mean you should let people make whatever changes they want, but it does mean employees should have their say in decisions that affect the school they dedicate so much of their time too. For example, you could empower them to make the call on the next step on a key strategy, or let them lead the discussion with a potential candidate for a new role.
Recognise good work
Everyone loves recognition. Being recognised for a job well done not only makes us feel good, but lets us know that we’re making the right decisions in our work, and encourages us to keep going.
Offer someone praise in a way that suits their personality. Public praise is great, but if your employee doesn’t like to be the centre of attention, pointing out their successes in front of the whole office isn’t the most tactful approach. Instead, a thoughtful email would be more appreciated or, even better, grab them for a quick 1-2-1 when they’re free to congratulate them personally.
Trust goes both ways. It’s not enough for you to show you trust your team, they need to trust you too. So, ditch the buzzwords and speak openly with your employees. They know you’re the boss; you don’t need to try and impress them.
Regularly update your team on important business metrics — yes, even the frightening ones. Make sure it’s a space where people can ask questions and don’t get defensive answers. This not only shows a level of trust but also helps solidify a school-wide bond. You’re essentially saying that you’re all in it together, and outlining what you can do as a team to reach mutual success.
Give employees ownership
If you tell an employee they are accountable for how well a task performs, all you’re doing is conjuring up a fear of failure and the inevitable repercussions that will fall on their head. Instead of giving people accountability, give them ownership of their work.
This isn’t just a case of using positive terminology – you need to truly let your team own what they do for the school. Let them spread their wings creatively, giving them the freedom to try new ideas and really put their heart into their work, creating something they can be proud of.
Put your people first
As well as expecting them to work hard, also know that you expect them to put their health and wellbeing first. If they are feeling too stressed or ill, they won’t produce their best work. Therefore, it is important that they know they can tell you if they aren’t feeling their best and that you will be empathetic and recognise their wellbeing comes first.
If you want to keep your staff inspired, you need to show them you’re a human rather than just an authority figure. By having a laugh, and getting stuck in with your team, you’re showing that you’re all on the same side – after all, you work hard together, so play hard together.
How you inject fun into your office is down to you and the workplace culture you want to create. It’s more than just the occasional get together though, as creating a fun work environment in your day-to-day business will help nurture creativity and instil a positive office attitude.