Eight strategies to inspire your team to work smarter

Teams don’t just magically feel inspired, or suddenly develop a poor culture where people are not motivated. I am always amazed at managers who blame their teams for their poor mood, poor output and lack of initiative. It starts at the top.

Strategies to inspire your people

1. Do a big SWOT of new technology

Make this an activity for one or two to present to others, or do it as a team project. Find new tech solutions; software programs and media platforms can really boost your business. “Boost” can mean supporting and improving existing infrastructure, as well as those that help promote what you’re doing. Remember what your company really is and see how it can make use of trends without over-investing in them.

 2. Organise a “speed sharing” activity

This is a great way to get to know more about each other, and share interests and talents. Set an objective, such as devising mini-teams to do a team task (e.g. pitch for new business) or solve a team problem and play the ideas and approaches off each other. Or bring in a professional facilitator or business adjudicator (make sure they’re engaging) and have a pitch-off.

3. Brainstorm the bottlenecks

All workplaces have them — something that holds back output or gets in the way, and is often evident when a deadline looms. Get everyone to contribute thoughts and solutions. Work in small groups then consider and rank strategies.

Next, compare maintaining things as they are versus taking action for improvement.

4. Explore talents and different work styles

Work out talents and strengths and consider how your business can accommodate them. Whose skills can be of major benefit and where? Who works well together and who is best working alone? Some people are more productive working on their own or from home; others need a crowd to really perform at their best. Discuss and share what you see and know.

5. Celebrate diversity — make a plus of people’s differences and backgrounds

Consistency is vital for output, but diversity of ages, cultures, skill sets, and learning modalities is necessary when talking inputs. Some managers gravitate to their mini-mes — a short sighted strategy. Some specialists in particular areas need to let go of “ownership” and be open to hearing others’ ideas and questions — all necessary for innovation.

6. Bring on the peer review

Find a constructive way to introduce 360-degree feedback or professional peer reviews. If they are done constructively and fairly, up and down, these can be invaluable for learning and improvement.

7. Offer training that is relevant and timely, to those who need it and will benefit

Working smarter is really about developing a thorough grounding in whatever area we’re talking about, plus having access to ongoing opportunities to train in related and new skills. Everyone deserves this and the results are discernible almost right away.

8. Provide everyone with the chance to go offsite

People need new input so offer them regular opportunities to attend seminars, events and excursions — these enable networking and fuel new approaches.

If you are leading a team, you must move that team to a positive place where they love their work, are engaged and delivering to the best they can. Inspire them to reach their potential and you will be inspired by the results!

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