Inspiring Your People

ProSolutions National 2006

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

I recently received a question from one of my clients who asked – I really like your concept of inspiring your people instead of just trying to motivate them. He went on to explain that he understands that when someone is inspired they take ownership in their job and they work harder and longer to assure that that the goals of the organization are being met (a form of intrinsic motivation). Extrinsic motivation on the other hand is the manipulation of people through rewards and punishments. This is more fleeting in nature. So how do you inspire your people?

In most situations inspiration and motivation are intertwined. The more someone is inspired to work hard and do quality work, the less they need to be motivated. Each employee is going to be somewhere along the continuum between needing to be externally motivated and being completely inspired to work hard and do quality work.

The over-riding key to remember is that the goal is to create a strong and positive team. This is accomplished by focusing on all five positive strategies (positive structure, positive purpose, positive climate, positive relationships, and positive communication). Inspiring your employees actually falls under the strategy of pursuing a positive purpose. But without utilizing all five positive strategies it will be next to impossible to inspire your team members.

So how can you as a leader inspire your players or workforce? Below are five strategies you can focus on to inspire your people so they work hard to accomplish the goals and objectives of the organization.

  1. Build a Trusting Relationship – The first step to inspiring your people is to build a trusting relationship. This is accomplished by being plugged-in and present with your employees. Get to know them, their skills, and who they are. Not all employees are motivated and inspired by one technique. The key to building trust is to genuinely care for the wellbeing of your people, being honest with them (both positive and negatives), and being consistent in your behavior and expectations.  
  1. Communicate Their Importance To The Team – The second step for creating an environment that inspires is to explain to your people how their contributions are making the organization better. Share with your people how their effort and performance is the key to making the company (or team) the best in the industry (or conference). Support this claim with real-life examples that link the desired behaviors and actions to the desired performance outcomes. Remember when you communicate to your employees (or players) strive to communicate with a 5:1 positive to negative ratio. Train your coaches, managers, and staff to understand the reasons why it’s important to use positive communication, to build positive relationships, and to create a positive organizational climate.
  1. Spend Quality Time With Your People – You need to get to know your people. This is accomplished by paying attention to them, and genuinely caring about each and every employee (or player and staff member). Employees are inspired to work hard when the leader gets to know them, genuinely cares about them, and builds a strong and positive relationship.
  1. Provide The Tools and Support – To be the best organization in the industry (or conference) you need to provide your people with the tools and support they need to be successful. An organization can’t be the best in the industry if they don’t have the proper tools and equipment. Similarly, employees need to feel supported in their performance and decisions. This is best accomplished when the leader encourages their people to take ownership in the organization through their decisions and being accountable for their performance. Staff and player evaluations need to include more than just performance reviews, they also should measure the significance the person is making to a positive team.
  1. Create Opportunities For Your People To Grow and Develop – The final step to creating an inspiring environment is to provide your people with an opportunity to learn and grow. This could be by having them attending workshops that provide them with industry and leadership training. It can include workshops, seminars, and/or books. Provide programs that provide strong discussion and engagement that gets your people plugged-in and wanting to grow.

The goal of a leader or manager is to build a strong and positive team that is effective, productive, and profitable (successful). This is best accomplished when the leader or manager is able to inspire their people to work hard and care more. If you have a management or leadership question for Howard please send him a message at