It was Andrew Carnegie who said, "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."
When you want to motivate people to do amazing things--to reach new heights, to accomplish the unthinkable, you have to inspire them.
Here are 10 important ways to build inspiration in your team:
1. Make it meaningful. Give them something compelling to resonate with -a compelling vision- is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. Make sure you have a vision, a goal, a mission that is so compelling and meaningful that people feel personally engaged and inspired to succeed.
2. Communicate clarity. From day one, communicate clearly and concisely, setting out the benefits and primary purpose of your vision or goal. Be honest about the risks and obstacles, and paint a picture of what their success looks like and how it fits within the big picture.
3. Pick the right people with the right skills. The best way to inspire excellence is to create the right team, so that every person is working independently but in unison. The right balance of skills, personalities and strengths will make progress--and eventually success--inevitable. And structuring people into a team where ability and trust are high lets you turn them loose to do great things.
4. Encourage strength through unity. A group of people working together in collaboration can achieved wonderful things. None of us alone is as smart as all of us together, and a unified group of people can capture the kind of collective intelligence that allows excellence to happen. Where there is unity, wonderful things can follow.
5. Celebrate the small wins that drive big progress. To achieve the impossible, you first have to make it possible. And the most reliable way to do that is to break things down into small increments. Then you can be sure to gain small wins early on--and over time, all the small wins drive progress and lead to success. It's also important to celebrate each of those small wins to keep people motivated and to help them move ahead when things get challenging.
6. Provide the support they need. You can't expect a group of people to excel if you don't support them. Without support from above, even the best team will become frustrated, or conclude that their work isn't important and fall into apathy. Make sure you provide the tools and resources needed, bearing in mind that extraordinary challenges sometimes need extraordinary resources and that people need to feel valued and supported to add value.
7. Cultivate a climate of trust. The way people come together is determined by their level of trust. You may have the greatest, most highly skilled and talented group of people on earth, but if they don't trust each other they'll never achieve success. When people trust each other there is commitment to the cause and accountability toward success.
8. Don't discourage failure. You can't make anything truly happen without making some mistakes along the way. It's a fact of life that things sometimes don't work out, and failure is part of success. That's why it's important not to punish failure. Fear of failure keeps people timid and unwilling to try new things, but the right attitude toward failure allows your team to learn from experience and keep experimenting. As the leader, you set the tone.
9. Anticipate discouragement. There's great power in a group of people who are working together toward a shared goal, but even the strongest team hits down times, when people feel discouraged and tired. The answer varies from team to team and project to project--it may be a motivational session to reconnect them to the purpose they're working toward, some time off, or a chance to blow of the steam that builds with long hours and hard work. But do something. It's part of your role as the leader to provide motivation when discontent sets in.
10. Focus on possibilities, not problems. When you focus on problems, you find problems. When you focus on possibilities, you find opportunities. If you can orient your to concentrate on the positive instead of the negative, the possible instead of the obstacles, the sky is the limit.