“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
-John Quincy Adams
As an entrepreneur, taking your business to the next level will require tons of key elements, of these elements, one of the most important elements would be the ability to lead and inspire your team.
The entrepreneur’s “vision” is what drives us. Its the coffee to our ambition, the fire that gets us up every morning ready to conquer and dominate our day. Without this vision, our efforts would be futile at best.
Your vision is the destination that guides your every action and your every decision. Your leadership is what will drive you and your team towards this vision.
A common question most entrepreneurs/leaders have regarding their teams is how do you inspire and instill this same vision into your team members/employees? There is no question that an inspired team accomplishes more and in a shorter duration than an uninspired team.
You just have to figure out how to share your vision in a way that inspires and brings out the best in your team members so that they are willing to go all out and pursue your company’s goal with the same fire and excitement that propels you.
This leadership skill is learnable for everyone and today we’re going to cover a few key methods/principles that you employ towards guiding and building up your own team.
1. Cut the Crap
As a leader, it is tempting to want to have everything figured out before sharing your ideas/goals with your team. Not only is it tempting, but it is also common for leaders to do just this. If you want your team to be completely sold on your vision and to go to war beside you, you’re going to have to stop pretending to have it all figured out.
Some leaders fear that if they don’t have it all figured out that their team will undermine their ability to lead, which is complete and utter crap. That’s nothing but the ego at play. The ego protecting the idea that you know everything…and you don’t.
Not only is it ok to not know everything, but it is incredibly powerful when you bring your ideas to your team and you include them on the decision making and empower them to challenge your ideas by providing their own.
This type of collaboration and freedom will instill confidence in your team and help them to feel included and apart of your journey vs being just another replaceable cog in the wheel of your business.
This is the type of open leadership that encourages innovation and drives companies to incredible success. When your team gets a chance to see ownership in the success of your company based on their ideas and their input, the vision will literally sell itself.
2. Challenge and empower your team
As an entrepreneur, it is vital to take a look at your team and find out what drives them, what they are good at, and the types of goals they have set for themselves.
This is incredibly important when it comes to bringing on new team members. By doing this, you now have the ability to put your team members in positions that will naturally provide fulfillment for them. You don’t want someone that is great at visual design to be stuck doing the mundane task of calculating excel spreadsheets.
You want to put them in a position that at least partly connects their day to day roles with their innermost passions and ambitions. Doing so, will help them feel connected with your business and keep them energized to perform their work to the best of their abilities. Combine this principle with principle #1 above and you have the recipe for a dynamic team leader that will go to the edge of earth and back for your business.
Also, challenge your team members. Don’t be afraid to give them tasks that are hugely important to your business and your clients. Show them that you have trust in them and their potential. If they make a mistake, help them iron it out. The key to having an inspired team is to let them know that you believe in their potential regardless of where they are today.
3. Provide the big picture and the little ones too
Goals are like puzzle pieces. Every big goal has smaller goals that combine to realize the bigger one. Your vision is the same way. As a leader, it can be easy to overlook the smaller pieces and only provide your team with a huge overarching bigger vision.
It is ok to share the smaller details that embody your bigger goals for your business and your team. You want to do both. If all you ever do is give your team members small tasks and small bits of information they can never know or feel connected to the bigger vision. If you only provide the bigger vision, you rob them of the fulfillment that comes with seeing how the small daily actions lead and contribute to the accomplishment of the bigger goals.
Managing and leading are not the same. You can delegate tasks all day and give your team members the small puzzle pieces, but if you are not showing them what the final picture will look like. How can you ever expect them to feel empowered, ingrained, and inspired towards achieving the overall vision if they can’t see it?
Show them the larger picture and show them how the small pieces (their daily work) adds up to create it.
Give credit where credit is due.
4. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way
As an entrepreneur, you’re always on go. The to-do-list is ever-growing and things need to be done….yesterday. It is easy to get so lost in the progress and execution aspect of your business that you forget to take a step back and acknowledge the individuals on your team that are working tirelessly to help make your vision a reality. Make time to give credit and encouragement when it is warranted. This does not mean over compliment your team as this can actually have an adverse effect an cause them to slow down / lose momentum. When your business reaches an important milestone take a step back and give personal credit to the team members that play an important role and also give them feedback on ways they can improve to move towards the next milestone.
These are just a few ways you can empower and build a truly inspired and dynamic team that meshes with your companies vision. In a coming post, I will dive into how you can build this team from scratch and also how to build inspired and devoted teams when money is tight.