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As A Leader In 2022, How Can You Inspire Your Team?

CEO of U.S. Money Reserve.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times over the last two years: The worlds of work and leadership have changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re all still figuring our way through the current, evolving (and strange) mid-Covid world, and as we do so, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the tools we relied upon before the pandemic are in sore need of updating. Our old ways of inspiring and motivating our teams are outdated and need a refresh to meet the evolving needs of our employees and our businesses.

While the world of work has changed, the human needs for inspiration, motivation and encouragement have not. In fact, I’d say that these needs are more pronounced than ever, thanks in large part to the rapid evolution of remote work and hybrid work environments as a result of the pandemic. At our core, humans are social animals, and without some form of contact that inspires, motivates and encourages us (especially during stressful times like these), we are apt to shut down, withdraw and cease to perform. So, when faced with difficult challenges like those the pandemic has foisted on us, the question becomes: How can you continue to inspire your team in 2022 and beyond?

Communicate consistently and openly.

One point that the ongoing pandemic has certainly driven home is: Communication is vital. Business leaders must be open, available, honest and real when it comes to communicating with staff and employees. Whether we’re talking about the state of the company or simply checking in with overstressed coworkers, leaders must come to the table with clear, concise, regular and open communication.

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This means that leaders have to be willing to be vulnerable and authentic now more than ever. Why? The pandemic has put up physical walls between us all—whether we’re talking about the plexiglass that hangs between customers and cashiers at any shop or the constant virtual video meetings we attend. To break down those walls and keep communication fluid, open and reliable, leaders have to be willing to show some measure of authenticity—some degree of realness—to continue to engage with employees who are burnt-out, exhausted and over-extended. By being real in everything from your all-hands meetings to your emails, you will encourage employees to connect with you on a deeper level. That, in turn, builds a relationship, which is key to keeping people motivated.

Ensure everyone has a place at the table.

I have always believed in the power of diversity in business. Whether referring to neurodiversity, racial or religious diversity, or even diversity of thought, diversity is a vital aspect of modern business, and it’s become even more paramount in today’s environment. Without diversity of thought, input and perspectives, you risk becoming out of touch with what your customers, consumers and employees truly want.

Part of encouraging diversity means identifying when someone might not be actively participating in the exchange of ideas. Leaders must be able to identify those places, people and times when valuable voices aren’t being heard or are being drowned out by others. This means making an effort to bring those people back to the table in a way that meets both their own personal needs and their professional goals. By ensuring everyone has a place at the table and a place to have their voice heard, you can increase the chances that your company will succeed when this pandemic finally does subside.

Create and maintain a healthy work environment.

One of the major takeaways of the last 20 months is the need for healthier and safer work environments. Whether that means enforcing mask-wearing and vaccinations or keeping your staff remote, your implementation of measures keeping your employees safe and healthy are absolutely vital to keeping them inspired to work. After all, without a basic sense of safety, employees can’t be expected to perform at their highest levels.

As leaders consider their health and wellness offerings, it’s vital to think outside the box—or even outside the app—when you are considering the mental health of your employees. Offering a throwaway app to employees isn’t enough. Think innovatively about how your individual workforce is working, what types of mental health issues employees have or may develop as a result of major shifts in work and home life balance, and the impact of the pandemic.

Offer feedback and recognition in new ways.

Gone (at least for now) are the days when we could throw an office holiday party to celebrate a great year or take the whole staff out to a bar or restaurant to celebrate a job well done. While there are still ways to do these types of events, leaders need to come up with different and more innovative ways to recognize the contributions of employees.

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The same is true for feedback. Leaders may have to reassess the ways in which they evaluate and measure success in the office—meaning the way we deliver feedback needs to change. Whether we do it via videoconference or in person, we need to provide feedback and recognition that meet employees where they are in order to be effective. Innovating in this space requires creative thinking, grace and a deep understanding of just how tumultuous this period has been for our employees, our businesses and ourselves.

By honing your skills as a strong, open and honest communicator; encouraging diversity of opinions, voices and ideas; creating and maintaining a healthy and safe work environment; offering feedback and recognition in new and innovative ways; and listening closely to your team, you can be sure to find creative ways to inspire them. If leaders step up and continue to challenge themselves to find new and creative ways to inspire their staff, we’ll all survive this long, difficult event together.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


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