Anne O’Donnell, CEO of Procorre
Anne O'Donnell, CEO of management consultancy Procorre, offers her top tips on how business leaders can ensure their staff feel inspired.
I learnt a valuable management lesson early on in my career; you gain more respect by always being prepared to do anything you ask your team to do. For me this is essential and has been the cornerstone of my leadership style.
All too often in other organisations I have seen people feeling uninspired and disillusioned because they didn’t understand why the work they were given was important or felt managers gave them tasks they simply didn’t want to do themselves. Eventually this dissatisfaction spreads around the team or people leave because they don’t feel valued or respected, and in the worst-case scenario both happen.
However, inspiring people isn’t something which happens overnight, and it needs to be a long-term commitment. As a leader it needs to start with you, but how do you do it?
In my opinion, leadership is about inspiring people, so they feel motivated, happy in their roles and invested in the organisation. This creates commitment and a sense of belonging, and this is especially important in sales and service driven organisations, as employees are constantly required to meet targets.
As a CEO there’s a long list of responsibilities within my role, but at the very top and something I prioritise over everything else is to inspire my senior management team and every team member I talk to. When there are key business decisions to make or other business priorities, this can be tough, but ensuring you make time for it really pays off.
Treat everyone as individuals
What inspires one person doesn’t inspire another. You need to invest time in understanding the different personalities of your senior team and what inspires them. By leading by example, they will in turn to do the same with their teams and this will help to create a positive working culture.
Remind, reiterate and reinvigorate
Inspiring people is a consistent process that needs effort and attention. You need to remind people of the importance of what they are doing. By reiterating the effect, they have on the success of a project or the organisation as a whole you are re-establishing inspiration in their minds and reinvigorating it.
Actions speak louder than words
It’s an old adage, but it never gets tired. Show your team you aren’t afraid to make that difficult call they might be dreading and to get your hands dirty. Sometimes, if you are saying one thing but doing another, employees lose confidence in you. Leaders should never be afraid of doing anything they ask their team to do.
Inspire by challenging and supporting
To get the best out of people sometimes you need to challenge them, but always in a positive way. By knowing you believe in them and their capabilities, they will be inspired to think the same way. To be on hand to support team members when overcoming any hurdles along the way also helps to cement that inspiration and to ensure they reach their goal.
I read a quote by Orrin Woodward recently which said: “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar." I firmly believe this is true and no one could argue that an organisation full of inspired people is going to succeed and grow.
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