An inspiring leader is someone who is able to motivate employees to be what they know they can be. Unfortunately, too many employees dread going to work and are unsatisfied in their current job position. Consequently, this leads to a higher turnover rate, absenteeism and lower productivity. The most inspiring leaders, however, seem to share the same secrets to energize their team and foster positive growth.
Below are the secrets from dozens of the world’s most inspiring business leaders to keep their teams motivated.
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1. Invest in Employee Recognition
Employee recognition is at the core of a company’s ability to thrive and retain talent. In fact, it was reported that the #1 reason why most Americans leave their jobs is because they do not feel appreciated.
Leaders who fail to show appreciation towards their employees put their business at risk for lower output, higher turnover and an overall lack of commitment. For instance, companies with strategic recognition reported an average employee turnover rate that was 23% lower than retention at companies without a recognition program.
2. Be an Active Listener
Inspirational leaders take the time to listen when someone speaks to them to best respond to the situation. As the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, wrote: “We have two ears and one mouth – for a good reason.” Encourage employees to share their opinions and give feedback via an open door policy, which results in a shared sense of value.
3. Direct a Clear Course of Action
A leader who is able to communicate a clear vision of the future through words, actions and beliefs will be inspirational. He or she seems to have a cheat sheet on how to achieve the company’s future goals, and has a bigger end game than simply doubling profits by this time next year. In fact, results from an article published in the Harvard Business Review, revealed that the second-highest requirement of a leader (after honesty), was to be forward-thinking, with 72% or respondents selecting this as a requirement in a leader.
4. Embrace Optimism with Full Force
Optimism has a true impact on the ultimate success or failure of your business. The ability to see a silver lining means you can communicate to others a brighter future, and are more resilient when confronted by daily struggles. A study by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission even revealed that banks are more likely to approve loan applications to leaders who are more enthusiastic and optimistic. Inspiring leaders know that it pays to be an optimist.
5. Place Value on Anecdotes
An article in The Wall Street Journal revealed that while many people in business believe that raw data is persuasive, facts and figures are often not as memorable as narratives. Inspiring leaders find ways to connect with their audience at an emotional level. Neuroscientists have even confirmed that most decisions – whether people realize it or not – are informed by emotional responses. FedEx, Kimberly-Clark and Microsoft are teaching executives to tell relatable stories as a way to improve workplace communication.
6. Foster Your Passion
As Suze Orman said: “You cannot inspire, unless you’re inspired yourself.” An inspiring leader is overflowing with passion, not necessarily for the product or service that they provide, but rather what it represents for the end user. Steve Jobs, for example, was not passionate about computers. Rather, he was passionate about constructing a tool that would aid people to unleash their creativity.
7. Persuade Employees of the Benefit
To achieve a common goal, employees need to know how they will benefit. Will increased sales lead to more job security, stability, flex time policies or daycare for working mothers? Your employees will always ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?” Be explicit about how they will benefit, don’t make them guess. Employee engagement matters, and as a UK study shows, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.