My last blog focussed on how you can influence the situation you work in. I want to look this tie at how companies crush people’s good intentions . How things that companies rightly need to focus on in order to survive can ultimately restrict inspiration. Goals are important, however you should not lose sight of the fact that you influence as a Manager what happens to you and around you.
Whether you are a Manager, Colleague you have responsibility for the business environment you work in.
The management influence is something that in my experience, a large percentage of the time is ignored. The old school “My way or the highway” approach may get results for so long, However
What does it do for morale?
What does this approach do for retention of staff?
What does this approach do for the long termism of a business?
If a management team does not embrace the needs of the people that work there, effectively treating people as mere numbers, then that companies reputation will be sullied very quickly. I can think of a few companies that, because of reputation gained from bad experiences of colleagues (through word of mouth), that I would be reticent to work with in my career.
The experience of inspiring people to achieve can easily work hand in hand with business goals. If people are inspired they will share there thoughts and ideas that will make a business stronger. Were businesses fail (in my opinion) is to encourage more involvement of their colleagues’. I know of companies that attempt this however they don’t follow fully on the recommendations from surveys that appear on a yearly basis. As a result colleagues see no point in completing surveys as they bring no change. Thus rendering the whole experience pointless and not inspiring or improving the environment they work in.
It is also fair to surmise that colleagues expect things to change too quickly. This brings another dimension to the piece… “realism”. Colleagues need to be kept informed at regular intervals of progress and delays in points that have been raised.
It is a common theme that if things don’t change overnight then colleagues lose interest very quickly. Openness and clarity should be part of the inspiration process. This should not be a once in a year “health check”. This should be an ongoing process, regular meetings to discuss progress. Action points and ownership (not just for the management teams) should follow these meetings to take the inspirational process.
It needs a strong advocate for the colleagues to ensure that they are engaged and looking for ways to make the company operate more effectively (not just when the company is on an economy drive). Some of the best performing companies have the strongest interaction with their colleagues. The people who lead the colleague delegation need to be inspirational charachters themselves otherwise the whole process will not be successful.
I recently attended a webinar with Virgin Media looking at there LMS and Social Media function. It was clear to see that they had their colleagues needs at the centre of the business. They were clear on the things needed to know in order to operate in the business. However they were also offering content that was not business based that would just enhance the colleagues personally.
I also found their social media platform (SMP) more effective than in many places I have seen it operated, with management interacting regularly on the SMP. It was evident that Virgin have an understanding of how important the colleagues are and really clear understanding of how to encourage everyone to develop and inspire. This kind of inclusive culture would be something I would encourage more companies to embrace. A workforce uninspired, breeds a culture of mundane daily servitude and eventually discontent.
If colleagues are inspired, then the culture therein will help the company achieve targets and also make those vision and value statements actually more realistic to achieve and not seem like a “hokey old religion” that people just see posted around. The key is to make those values an important part of everyday.
I am sure we have heard the story of the colleague sweeping the floor whilst working for NASA who was asked what he was doing, to which the response came
“I am putting a man on the moon”
Emphasising that every colleagues role has a massive part to play, ultimately influencing the overall performance of the business. This is in itself and inspirational story, however I feel companies need to ensure that if they have an aim for example “Speak your mind freely” that this should be encouraged. Adult environments should exist to allow free thinking and new approaches to materialise.
Finally inspiration should come from the management team making themselves available to discuss everyday issues with their people. It is important for an employee to feel they can share their ideas openly and that the Manager will encourage them in the right way. A Manager should try to make as much time as possible to “connect” with their team and encourage people. The right positive word from a Manager can have a massive effect on the colleagues performance don’t underestimate how you are perceived by the team for whom you are responsible. I have always found that if I get a word of encouragement regularly from my Manager, it is something I carry with me for a long time. It also inspire me to look for new ideas to make my job and others around me more effective. Never forget how the right words will inspire (the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard sums these thoughts up perfectly) “Catch someone doing something right” it is something that has helped me greatly over the years… Thank you Ken
Again these are just my feelings on “Inspirational Leadership” I am sure I could go on in more detail. In fact I am in the progress of creating a whole range of leadership courses for my consultancy and I would be more than happy to chat to anyone out there more directly about this subject.
Once again thank you for taking the time out to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it and would like to hare more feelings with me.
Thanks for reading…