Do your people know what inspires you?

“Teddy” talked about a frustrating employee who is doing an OK job but has said and done a few things that make her wonder what kind of team player he really is. He’s not showing the verve he had for the role when he interviewed for it earlier this year. He’s more ‘me’ focused than ‘team’ focused.

After talking about what Teddy could do, I asked what she sees when thinking of her team operating at their best and the impact they could make. She promptly and succinctly outlined a vivid picture of what she believes is possible. Her energy and commitment were palpable.

I asked if she had described her vision to the team. She stared across the table at me, not blinking. “Well… no… I haven’t. I’ve talked with them individually about what they can do, mostly to those who ‘get it’. But I’ve not talked with the team as a whole about what I see for the future. I will do that!”

Teddy, like most leaders, has a vision for what her team can accomplish. But instead of communicating it to the team, including how team members’ individual and combined talents can help realize that vision, she focuses in her all-team meetings on what has been done and what’s next.

“I’ve always thought I don’t have time, nor do they, to talk about vision. But now I realize how important it is,” she said.

To inspire employees to their greatest potential, start with what inspires you.

When Teddy repeatedly talks with the team about her vision for their future, their potential for higher quality output, and the impact they can have both internally and externally, her vision will kindle their thinking about possibilities.

Making her vision a shared vision will help turn their creative wheels in a unified direction. This surely will enrich what they can achieve together.

So, what inspires you?

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