A Gallup report, ‘The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders’, highlights results from the ongoing study of the American workplace from 2010 through 2012. The findings are grim that 75% of current workplace employees are disengaged in their current positions; and, 82% of managers are not a current fit for their jobs as leaders. From studies like this, it’s becoming evident that just attaining the next promotion or next benefit in an organization is not inspiring enough to be meaningful. Consequently, employees just perform or comply not inspiring themselves or others to excel. Where’s the inspiration in our workplaces and from our current leaders to excel in what we do as engaged staff?
Whether you are in an ‘official’ leadership role or a socially appointed leader, we all lead at some point in our personal and professional lives. And as leaders, people follow you because they identified the same level of passion for a cause or project that you did. Perhaps you did not recognize it at that moment, but you inspired others to excel in expanding a community’s outreach, improving an organizational culture, or even, enriching the lives of military veterans.
Both social and eco-planet missions are seeing more leaders who value stability between profit-making and global sustainability. These are the leaders in every country and industry who are capable of rebuilding trust and inspiring others to surpass what has been accepted as mediocre performance.
Here are some designs of how to ‘be of service’ and inspire others. Use as many as resonate with you:
• Encourage all staff or colleagues to contribute their thoughts and fervor on specific goals and concerns. The people on your projects or teams need to be courageous in expressing their values and passions. Create an environment where all can be heard without judgment and criticism.
• Leaders who inspire others take risks. These are the people that are not afraid to ‘stand’ for something without monetary gain or status. Think of past leaders that incited movements such as, civil liberties activist Rosa Parks, American Indian Chief Wilma Mankiller, or women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony. All of these inspired others to challenge the current social system and proceed on a journey to a new future. Let others know who has inspired your leadership style.
• In companies where you are fulfilling a leadership position, be certain to be the symbol for your employee’s essentials to the executive staff. It is not uncommon for the C-level management to be unaware of necessities for the front line customer service staff such as, noise reducing headphones or travel apps for the sales engineers. Use your professionalism to gain the best working conditions and tools for those that serve you and the company. Your team will be inspired that they have a champion for their commitment to excellence.
• Inspiration comes from those leaders that do not drive others to achieve a specific outcome. Leaders that share a common vision or ask for commitment to a higher social good inspire others to eliminate roadblocks, making success achievable for all involved.
• Inspiring others gives permission to all to question options, challenge opinions, and turn problems into opportunities. When the fair practice of listening is in place, it is predictable that you will hear the heartfelt values of others. Let yourself listen, not just ‘hear’ the fire in others.
When you know you can inspire others, ask yourself:
• In any leadership role, how will you present a mood of success so that others know you are ready to act?
• What operating standards will you help create for your colleagues and/or teams to keep inspiration high? Do you need to have an offsite day once a month to sustain trust and keep inspiration soaring in the team members?