I haven’t been managing departments for very long, but it didn’t take but a short time to discover that anyone can lead people, but only few can inspire them.  It takes a lot more than business classes or a nice suit to be an inspiring or motivational person.  Although some of it is a naturally occurring ability inside us, certain behaviors do help us inspire our employees and motivate them to do greater things.  Here are some of the behaviors you can change for the better.

  • Invite the Clueless: If you are discussing a topic that you struggle with every year, try inviting a new person to the mix that isn’t normally part of the process. Consider someone from outside the department, and with a different view.  Sometimes not knowing the process will cause them to question why things are done a certain way.  This will help you reevaluate your processes and why you do the things you do.
  • Work the Line: If you are a manager, you probably spend more time in meetings and answering emails than doing the job of your subordinates.  Make some time to find a desk and do the daily work you ask of your staff.  Not only does this keep you humble, but it helps you keep your focus on your work.
  • Ask Questions: Many people fear asking questions.  They don’t want to appear to be ignorant or simply want others to think they know everything.  Truly intelligent people know that there is always more to learn, and others may be willing to share that knowledge.
  • Reach Out to Others: Don’t be afraid to contact other staff, departments, managers, or even other businesses about their practices.  It is likely many others have dealt with an issue you are having already, and it’s helpful to have others opinions.
  • Be Positive: Positive reinforcement is an amazing tool for inspiring your co-workers.  Negativity isn’t inspiring.  Complaining about the weather, the workload, your boss, or your in laws will get you nowhere.  Be as positive as you can about work, life, and family.  Even if you don’t feel positive, act like it, and you will start to feel better.