Posted by: Ron Loza | August 31, 2011

Seven Techniques to Inspire Your Staff

An overwhelming majority of employees do not look forward to going to work. While there are many reasons, most point to a lack of leadership as the reason why. While some organizations make it difficult to lead it isn’t impossible to inspire, motivate and positively influence the people in your professional circle.

I have had great results implementing the following seven techniques. You can easily adopt these in your own professional communications with your employees, clients, and vendors to motivate and inspire.

1. Demonstrate Enthusiasm. Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do. You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Once you discover your passion, make sure it’s apparent to everyone within your professional circle.

I operated a chain of specialty coffee shops and I often demonstrated the ability to make significantly more tips. I knew a lot about the industry and our products because I was interested and passionate about the industry. I constantly read news articles to further my knowledge which enabled me to engage our customers. I shared this knowledge and encouraged the staff to learn more which led them to a significant increase in tips.

2. Define a Clear Course of Action. The absence of clear communication is a certain failure point. Inspiring leaders craft and deliver a specific, consistent and memorable vision and goals. A goal such as ‘we need to double our sales by this time next year’ is not inspiring and for most, gives little to no direction. If your staff knew how to double sales, they would have already done so.

A vision is a short vivid description demonstrating the purpose of your company’s existence. For example, “we provide the highest quality specialty coffee products in a fast, friendly, environment.” If you are setting a goal to increase sales you need to provide the path or paths to achieving this goal. For example, “during the month of May we will offer, to every customer, the opportunity to add an extra espresso shot to their drink. We will do so using the following script… and we will keep a daily record of our successes. Those having the most success will mentor those who might be struggling.” EX-DEM-PRA – Explain, Demonstrate, Practice.

3. Sell the benefit. Always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. I always ask my staff, “Why should you care if our company succeeds?” That’s the same thing you need to ask yourself constantly throughout a presentation, meeting, pitch or any situation where persuasion takes place. Your listeners are asking themselves ‘what’s in this for me?’ Answer it. Don’t make them guess.

4. Tell more stories. Inspiring leaders tell memorable stories. Few business leaders appreciate the power of stories to connect with their audiences. Politicians often tell stories throughout their election campaigns to draw in constituents on an emotional level.

Which of these facts are you most likely to remember? ‘The graduation rate at ABC High School is in the 3rd percentile of the district and to improve the graduation rate we need you to donate money’ or ‘Peter Jones of ABC High School was not going to graduate but because of your donations he not only graduated but went on to XYZ University, graduated with honors and now teaches at ABC High School.’

No amount of data can replace a story. Stories connect with people on an emotional level. Tell more of them.

5. Invite participation. Inspiring leaders bring employees, customers, colleagues, and vendors into the process of building the company. This is especially important when trying to motivate young people. The command and control way of managing is over. Instead, today’s managers solicit input, listen for feedback and actively incorporate what they hear. Employees want more than a paycheck, they want to know that their work is adding up to something meaningful.

6. Have an Optimistic Outlook. Even in these tough times there is room for optimism. Inspiring leaders speak of a better future. Robert Noyce, the co-founder of Intel, said “Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the individual favor change over security?”

Extraordinary leaders throughout history have been more optimistic than the average person. Winston Churchill exuded hope and confidence in the darkest days of World War II. Colin Powell said that optimism was the secret behind Ronald Reagan’s charisma. Powell also said that optimism is a force multiplier, meaning it has a ripple effect throughout an organization. Speak in positive, optimistic language. Be a beacon of hope.

7. Encourage potential. Inspiring leaders praise people and invest in them emotionally. Richard Branson has said that when you praise people they flourish; criticize them and they shrivel up. Praise is the easiest way to connect with people. When people receive genuine praise, their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar.

Encourage people and they’ll walk through walls for you. By inspiring your listeners, you become the kind of person people want to be around. Customers will want to do business with you, employees will want to work with you and investors will want to back you. It all starts with mastering the language of motivation.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for this informative and well written post. Both in my experience of being led and in my learning as a leader, all seven techniques have been essential for effective leadership.


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