Whether you work with a partner or have a staff of 100+ employees, staying inspired and working towards a common goal can be trying at times. Even though we all know chocolate milkshakes are the greatest flavor out there, you may be working with the one person in the world who thinks blueberry is best. How do you inspire coworkers to work for the chocolate even though it is not their greatest want? In my experience, I have found three practices that have helped me inspire teams to success and greater heights. They include implementing a recognition or reward system, assigning meaningful responsibilities, and providing opportunities to lead.
When I worked in the retail industry, management implemented a recognition system to reward employees who provided special customer service, decreased inventory shrinkage (loss), or increased sales. The reward system provided small monetary prizes such as gift cards or the opportunity to receive a one-time discount for one item or a basket of items. This system not only succeeded by operational and profit performance metrics, but it helped inspire employees to reach beyond their usual day-to-day actions. By awarding ‘good, quality work’ with ‘good, quality rewards,’ the excellence of employees’ work increased.
During my early years with Lucid Books, I was assigned a project that required me to merge two companies into one. While the procedures to complete this assignment were basic and routine in nature, detail and concise execution were imperative. During planning discussions and while completing the project, I felt important and appreciated because I had been assigned a significant project. Employees, young and old in their profession, at some point or another want to feel appreciated and apart of the businesses success. Assigning special projects or different responsibilities can help inspire employees and lead to a turnaround in employee happiness as well as personal success.
Opportunities to Lead
While working as an intern for an auditing department, I was asked to visit with finance managers of the major divisions within the business to discuss potential audit engagements or consulting projects. Even though I was new, the audit director decided to test my confidence and measure how I conducted myself. It was enlightening to meet with and discuss potential opportunities where the audit team could provide value. In addition, the audit director developed trust in me. This trust has brought a number of benefits and positive outcomes for both the business and me. I feel appreciated and needed at work which helps me provide quality work. In turn, this allows me to discover aspects such as underpaid revenue, increase opportunities to reduce expenses, and develop business processes that improve the business.
Inspiring your team highly correlates with improving your business ventures. While employees may not love the idea of having chocolate instead of blueberry, you can still help them see that having a milkshake is better than not having one at all. I have mentioned three ways to inspire teams which have proven effective during my career. Selecting the best practice for your business could start with a group discussion. Ask your employees. Learn what is important to them. Then, make the best decisions that will inspire your employees and your business to greater heights.