MAKE BEING INSPIRATIONAL A DAILY HABIT
It’s 11am and since I’ve woken up, I’ve consumed millions of bits of information. I checked my emails as I got out of bed. Then I heard the headlines on the radio in my car, before I put a podcast on. As I arrived at work, 3 colleagues told me their weekend activities, before I checked my emails again (another 45 have appeared). Then I held a meeting, before jumping on a conference call – each had a completely different agenda and content. Now I’m sitting here and I would be struggling to tell you everything I’ve heard and read in the last 4 hours.
Is this a unique situation? Am I the only one this happens to?
No, absolutely not.
This is the average morning of millions of people across the world every single day.
This is the average morning of your team.
It’s important to recognise this. By the time you and your team have a chance to connect, they have already consumed tons of information. If you aren’t aware of this, you could be just another source of this information – not standing out, not impacting them, not developing them.
The best managers that I have seen are acutely aware of information overload, and they mitigate this by striving to deliver inspiration before information.
To illustrate the difference, let’s turn to the dictionary.
To inform is to give someone facts or information.
To inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something.
Spreading information to the members of your team is adding to their load. Spreading inspiration is adding to their energy.
However, before you think this is far too fluffy, I am acutely aware of the need to share information. Information sharing within a team is crucial. The point here is to encourage managers to try to spread inspiration before the information. The best leaders are the people that cut through the information to deliver moments that move, energise and inspire their team.
This approach delivers a host of great benefits too.
Firstly, inspired people are known to have a higher sense of self-belief and are generally more optimistic.
Secondly, inspired people are more creative in their daily work.
Thirdly, inspiration has been linked to feelings of wellbeing, both at the point of inspiration and long into the future too!
Inspiring your team has huge benefits to you and to them.
“But I’m not an inspirational person”.
Not yet you’re not…
Making being inspirational a daily habit doesn’t mean you have to burst into the office tomorrow like Steve Jobs or Sheryl Sandberg. However, there are small changes for you to make to your daily behaviour that are certain to make you more inspirational.
Here are 5 ways to boost your daily inspiration scores.
#1 – LEAD BY EXAMPLE
As a leader, your team is looking to you every day as a model of behaviour. Your job is to use this attention to inspire through your daily actions. If you have an expected or desired performance and behaviour from your team, make sure you deliver that performance and behaviour yourself every day. Remember, inspiring people is about giving them an urge to do something themselves. By leading from the front, and showing them the way, you inspire them to repeat this same action.
#2 – BE RELENTLESSLY POSITIVE AND ENTHUSIASTIC
As we know, inspired people are more optimistic, have higher self-belief and are more creative. This means to bring this out of them, you need to be the guiding positive influence. It’s very easy, especially when work is stressful, to let cynicism and pessimism slide into our every day. If you want to inspire your team, this is absolutely banned! Positivity and enthusiasm are so powerful in keeping morale high, and your ability to remain positive and enthusiastic, even when times are tough, is inspirational.
#3 – FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALS AND DEPLOY EMPATHY
Great teams feel like one strong collective unit, and this great. However, it’s also important that you focus on the individual people within that collective unit. Each person in your team has their own personality, their own way of working and their own ambitions. Regularly deploy empathy to tap into every individual’s state of mind, and tailor your behaviour to add value to them. Your ability to regularly remember and understand each team member’s goals, and helping them to reach them, is inspirational to everyone.
#4 - BE A STORY TELLER
The marketing industry has realised the power of stories but, internal communications seems think this it doesn’t apply to them – well, it does! Stories are the most effective way to make a point so it is heard, understood and remembered. Yet, every day I see slide decks, PDFs and emails packed full of dry information, and without a single story in sight! If you want to stand out, tell stories to support your point. The first thing people say when I say this is, “I’m not a story teller” – yes you are, we all are! So, look back across your life and highlight those great stories that you have heard, read, or even things that have happened to you. Then find out what you learned from that story. The chances are it was something that enlightened you in some way if you still remember. (To find out more about storytelling, and how to, check here).
#5 - BE CURIOUS AND INTERESTED IN THE FUTURE OF YOUR INDUSTRY
Being curious and interested is a fantastic personal strategy full stop. Being genuinely curious and interested is a sure-fire way to boost your charisma, so bear that in mind. However, in this context, it’s important to care about the future of the industry you work in. As a leader, you are expected to be looking into the future and seeing how developments will impact your business. I’m sure most of you already do this – don’t keep this to yourself. When you see something that may happen, tell your team, and discuss with them. The chances are they are looking too. Then, if you have time, why not hold short discussion sessions where you and your team discuss the potential impact of new trends. Leading this type of open discussion, and looking into the future, are hallmarks of inspirational leadership – make it part of your daily mind set.
Hopefully these 5 points will show you that the distance between where you are now, and being inspirational every day is only short. The important thing to remember is this:
Being inspirational isn’t about delivering one-off moments of brilliance, it’s about consistently delivering personal moments to people that boosts their energy and ability to be their best-self every day.
So take these tips, and make being inspirational a daily habit – be the one that cuts through the information, and delivers meaning and energy to your team. The benefits for this will go both ways, to you and to your team. It’s a true win/win.