How to build an inspired workforce


Irrespective of whether you are an entrepreneur, a business head, a function head or a team lead – managing workforce has  been one of the foremost challenges recognized in these respective roles. If you are like most people who aspire to do a good job leading your team, you would have, at some point or the other, wondered how to go about creating a massively inspired workforce, that is motivated beyond measure and will help you seamlessly achieve your organizational goals.

Clearly you would be tempted to see the pattern emerging from those companies and leaders who have consistently succeeded in this aspect and have therefore flourished in the 21st century. What commonality do they share in their strategy to formulate such a workforce? Listed below are five areas, which have attracted unadulterated focus from these companies and leaders and helped them build a team with a much desired DNA.

  1. Re-align

One of the most important aspects of any company is their Vision Statement. A good vision statement will not only tell you about the direction of company’s growth but also about the “Why” of it’s existence. [Example: Apple’s Vision Statement] The vision statement enforces with vigour why they do what they do. It is the force behind the force. While the company has a vision, it has to understand that it is not the vision shared by all its employees, for whom things that matter the most may differ: Career, Personal Finance, Health & Relationships etc. Enabling the vision of the company is not on the top of their priority list.

To make this possible, the company leadership has to ensure that the vision of the employees is aligned with that of the company. The employees needs to see the congruence in his own vision and that of the company. Unless that happens, he will not yearn, as much, to make the company vision come true. More importantly the coherence emerging from this effort will help them harness the power of collective potential. Unfortunately very little effort in terms of intent, time & energy is invested by companies in ensuring that they achieve this goal.

  1. Re-define

One of the recurring arguments that I have heard from corporate professionals is about the ambiguous nature of the expectations that their roles entail. Unfortunately, ambiguous expectations produce ambiguous results which is undesired. This is where the leader and the subordinates need to collectively work to ensure that there is absolute clarity in what is expected from a team member. There has to be system in place which can measure and track what is expected to be achieved. For a simple reason – what can’t be measured, can’t be achieved.

  1. Enable

Corporate professionals have identified this as one of the most neglected parts in their office culture. i.e. We don’t have enough business heads or team leaders proactively asking their subordinates ‘How can I help you perform better?’. It should be noted that the key word here is ‘proactively’. This would mean granting them the resources (internal or external) needed to achieve the results or any kind of training, coaching, mentoring, tutelage which will nurture them, help them grow and expedite their goals.

Now one might be tempted to think why this is important. The reason this is so critical is because inspired teams have a very important ingredient: their unflinching loyalty. This loyalty cannot be earned solely by offering monetary benefits coz there will always be some competitor who will outbid you for the talent. It is gained by showing, and not just telling or offering, that you care. Such fierce is the loyalty earned through this work ethic that often times we see the protégé follow the leader in the next role within the same or different organization.

  1. Responsibility

One of the most unstated but implied words in corporate world. Unfortunately for a lot many employees, the unsaid becomes the unheard and it directly impacts the quality of work they bring to the table. As a lead, you have to ensure that responsibility is entrusted and communicated clearly to the team member. Shirking responsibility when things go kaput is unfortunately common across industries. Affixing the responsibility of the task to an individual creates a sense of ownership and commands commitment from the employee. Once that happens, employees are willing to go the distance to fulfil their commitment.

One of the reasons which could dampen this effort is the responsibility not being accompanied by the authority or the decision making power that is necessary to complete the job. Which is why we often hear employees not feeling empowered enough at jobs which they believe they can do well otherwise. In cricket parlance, its like asking your opening batting pair to score a hundred runs in the first 15 overs but not giving them the freedom to chose which bowler to attack and which to defend. No responsibility without authority.

  1. Recognition

An interesting outcome of a survey conducted across supervisors and subordinates in 200 companies to figure what they consider as important for motivating employees revealed that the supervisors picked ‘appreciation’ at a staggering 6th position as against employees who picked ‘appreciation’ as numero uno. Kind words of gratitude and appreciation have incredible power to shape the mindset of your work force. Now a lot of entrepreneurs, business leaders and team leads have demonstrated this albeit not with consistent success. One may wonder why. The reason is explained in the next paragraph.

It is important to understand that each person process information in different ways: viz. Auditory (What they hear), Visual (What they see), Kinesthetic (What they feel). Every person has a dominant type in which he prefers to process information. An employee with an auditory bias would prefer a leader who walks up to him and compliments him on his face while a visual bias person might prefer a receiving a card, a letter, a certificate or even pictures. A kinesthetic person would prefer a handshake or a hug or complimentary movie tickets. If you want to be good at appreciation as a team lead, you need to understand the type that creates the most impact on the team member to whom you are delivering your appreciation.

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