As a HR professional I observe many situations in the workplace where difficult conversations have been avoided by managers leading to misunderstanding and ambiguity with individuals. The impact of this leads to wider disquiet and dis-satisfaction within the team. 

The managers most important role is to inspire teams to achieve great things. Without this mediocre performance and productivity is evidenced which of course leads to mediocre profitability. 

One of the challenges I hear regularly from Managers is that they have little time as they have their own job/goals to achieve also. Whilst this point is taken, making little effort or no effort to inspire and support your team to achieve will greater the burden on the Manager. 

So how can a manager motivate, encourage, and empower their employees to reach their full potential whilst staying on track with their own goals? It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The crucial point is to be organised, and ensure you do something regularly to contribute to achieving your teams’ goals. I explore some practical tips and strategies for inspiring your team to achieve. 

1. Set Clear Goals and Expectations 

One of the most important things you can do as a manager is to set clear goals and expectations for your team. When your employees know what they’re working towards – and what’s expected of them – they’re much more likely to be motivated and engaged. Take the time to sit down with each team member and discuss what they need to achieve, how they’ll achieve it, and what success looks like. Be specific, and make sure everyone is on the same page. Review the goals regular to ensure they remain relevant as change happens in business! Ensure regular 1-2-1’s are in the diary so that there is opportunity to build trusting relationships and review status on goals. 

2. Provide Regular Feedback and Recognition 

Another key to inspiring your team is to provide regular feedback and recognition. Let your employees know when they’ve done something well, and offer constructive criticism when there’s room for improvement. When you recognize and reward great work, you’re showing your employees that their efforts are valued and appreciated. This, in turn, motivates them to keep doing their best. Be ready to have difficult conversations when improvement feedback requires to be given – most of all, don’t avoid the discussion. 

3. Foster a Positive Work Environment 

Employees spend a lot of time at work, so it’s important to create a positive environment where they feel comfortable, understood, supported, and motivated. Encourage open communication, positive attitudes, and a culture of collaboration. Celebrate successes together, and help your employees grow and develop their skills. When your team members feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, they’ll be more inspired to achieve great things. Regular weekly meetings to review the team’s success, the challenges for the coming week and how the team can support each other is a great way to collaborate – along with activities such as charitable responsibility initiatives. 

4. Lead by Example 

A Manager is the role model for the team. If you want your employees to be inspired and motivated, you need to lead by example. Show up on time, demonstrate the values of the organisation, work hard, and have a positive attitude. Treat your employees with respect and kindness and show that you care about their success. When your team sees that you’re invested in their growth, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead. Whilst this can be achieved on one level, many Managers find themselves under pressure from senior leaders and board members who perhaps don’t lead by example and then of course find themselves “stuck in the middle” trying to protect their team whilst trying to manage upwards – very difficult to navigate. 

5. Empower Your Team 

Finally, one of the best ways to inspire your team is to empower them. Give your employees the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed. Encourage them to take risks and if there is failure – learn rather than discipline; make their own decisions and solve problems on their own. When you show your employees that you trust them and believe in their abilities, they’ll be more likely to rise to the challenge. 

In summary…. 

Inspiring your team to achieve great things takes effort, but it’s definitely achievable. By setting clear goals and expectations, providing regular feedback and recognition, fostering a positive work environment, leading by example, and empowering your team, you can motivate and inspire your employees to reach their full potential. Remember, the best teams are those that are united, focused, and motivated towards a common goal. As a manager, it’s your job to create that kind of team culture and steer your team towards success – however it is also equally recognised it is a difficult balance to achieve with the many pressures experienced by managers. 

Serena Bower (MCIPD) 

Bower HR Consultancy Ltd 

April 2023 

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