By Rand O’Leary, FACHE
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace reports that while the U.S. has more than 100 million full-time employees, only about one-third of them could be considered engaged at work. These are the staffers leaders dream about – they love their jobs and just make their organizations better. At the other end of the spectrum, 16% of employees are actively disengaged and generally miserable at work, and the remaining 51% of employees are not engaged at all – they’re just there.
For a leader, those are some sobering statistics, and should serve as a wakeup call. While engagement is important, chances are, you don’t just want your employees to engage, you want them to be inspired. Suze Orman once said you cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. That means as a leader you should have passion – for the work, for the mission, and for what that means to people and the communities you serve.
Inspired employees impact an organization’s bottom line too, and studies have shown that inspired employees are more than twice as productive as satisﬁed employees. Inspiring behavior unleashes the energy within people to do their best work. It also helps them connect with an organization’s purpose and meaning.
Change starts at the top and looking at the power of a company with leaders who inspire at every level, Bain & Company launched a research program to understand what inspires people. Their research helped them identify a number of distinct and tangible attributes that leaders can use to create inspiration in others.
While vitality, humility, vision, focus, openness or responsibility may be the attributes that come to mind when you think of inspiring leadership, Eric Garton, a partner in Bain & Company’s Chicago office, writes that there is no universal archetype, but instead says that anyone can become an inspirational leader by focusing on his and her strengths. While an inspired leader should always have passion for the mission, it’s also important to build on your strengths in other areas. You may also want to:
1 – Build Up Your Team
Leadership is about connecting with and inspiring people. When you treat staff on every level with respect, listen to them, involve them, recognize them for their work, and demonstrate how valuable they are, you build trust and loyalty.
2 – Always Look on the Bright Side
Doom and gloom will get you nowhere fast. As an inspired leader it is up to you to be a beacon of positivity for your organization. Sure, problems will happen, but when you focus on the positive, and look for ways to solve those problems in order to create a better future for all, you will inspire your staff.
3 – Maintain Your Vision
Keep your eye on the big picture and through your words, actions, and beliefs, you can paint a picture of what your organization’s future can look like. You vision can be a powerful tool to inspire and engage your team, and show them how together, you can make the ideas happen.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to lead by example, and inspire our team on every level. That will lead to higher engagement and connection, not only to the task at hand, but to the overall mission and values of the organization.
For more information on Rand, visit his LinkedIn profile.