Friday, July 10, 2009

5 Ways to Ignite Productivity, Power, & Passion in Your Team

"Be enthusiastic as a leader. You can't light a fire with a wet match!" - Author Unknown

Isn't it interesting that we can light a firecracker on the 4th of July faster than we can ignite a fire in ourselves and our team? I had a client recently that complained they were having a hard time generating enthusiasm and passion from their team. When I started asking them the right questions I could see where the breakdown was coming from. Enthusiasm starts at the top. You get what you put out. So... what are you putting out as the leader of your team?

Let me give you a few examples of lackluster leadership:

• Do you walk in your office in the morning with a 'ho hum' attitude?
• Do you look directly at the person when you talk to them?
• Do you only comment on their performance when they make a mistake?
• Do you genuinely acknowledge them for their efforts?
• Do you preach or teach?
• Do you really listen to what they have to say or contribute?
• Do you keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results?
• Do you have someone on your team that always seems to have a negative attitude?

Are you starting to get the picture? Always remember that change starts with you and filters down to your team. The old saying, 'Lead by example, not words' is still valid in today's business environments.

Here are 5 simple steps that will help you ignite enthusiasm, passion, and productivity in your followers:

1. When you are presenting an idea or project, build a vision for them to follow. Show them how the outcome will benefit them and the business.

2. Stop, look, and listen to your team members ideas. Keeping your head buried in papers while they are speaking does not role model good leadership. People want to know that their ideas are respected and heard so that they feel a part of the team.

3. Acknowledge your team mates consistently. Don't just say, 'Great job Bob!' People want to be acknowledged for specific contributions. For instance, 'Bob, your presentation in today's meeting was very thorough. Thank you.'

4. Be specific in your expectations and requests. Don't expect people to be mind readers. Let them know exactly what you need from them so they don't have to waste their time and resources guessing.

5. Find out what lights their fire and then give them the tools and the support they need to succeed.

Your role is to create a healthy environment where people thrive, grow, and succeed with passion, and not to instantly squash ideas that are not your own. Let your team members know that you welcome their ideas and input.

By Cookie Tuminello

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