Use ‘way power’ and better communication to inspire your teams.
In our fast-paced, ever-changing work environment, employees are looking for inspiration and guidance. When the only certainty is change, every member of the team has to keep up to maintain a prosperous company. Employees want to be inspired rather than directed and a compelling leader has no shortage of inspiration.
Leaders can be anyone, not just the higher-ups in the corner office. As long as they can inspire individuals to be more passionate about their work they can lead from any position. Ultimately, it is individuals, not a board of executives, who will lead an organization to success, says executive coach and hope researcher Libby Gill.
Gill is the author of the award-winning book, You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-taking in Work and Life, which won an Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of self-help. Her forthcoming business book, The Hope-Driven Leader: Harness the Power of Positivity at Work, uses the science of hope and positive psychology to inspire leaders to inspire others.
Hope is not optimism
Hope is not to be confused with optimism, Gill explained, which is a general point of view (e.g., do you see glass as half-full or half-empty?). Instead, hope is linked to actions and behavioral outcomes. It is the idea that you recognize your situation is not pretty, you have obstacles to overcome, but you believe your actions can and will change your future.
Not only is hope important for our well-being, it’s all important for our success. Research by positive psychologist Dr. Charles. R Snyder, author of the textbook Positive Psychology, has shown hopeful people set more goals, reach for higher goals, and are more successful at attaining goals than less hopeful people.
In her new book, Gill explained there are two ways leaders can inspire hope in employees so they can be more successful.
Use ‘way power’ to inspire employees
Leaders can inspire employees by recognizing and appreciating that there are multiple pathways to problem-solving. In businesses, sometimes leaders emphasize there is only one way to do things, which ignores employees’ individual strengths and abilities. However, there are always multiple ways to complete a task.
According to Gill, smart leaders inspire hope, drive, and direction in their teams by giving employees license to follow their individual paths to solving problems.
Use effective communication to create collaborative teams
Another way to inspire hope in employees is to have more effective communication with your teams. In her book, Gill highlights how research has shown that better communication makes for effective teams by encouraging equal participation and higher levels of engagement.
According to Gill, the key for leaders inspiring teams is to speak less and allow space for full-on team participation, where team members feel safe to challenge each other. This style of communication gives ownership to a team’s actions, which inspires hope that they can change situations.
Gill adds the science of hope is not just for millennials and startups. In her coaching and keynote talks, she has found she gets the biggest response from leaders in mature companies, who are seeking new ways to handle changes affecting their industries.
And for them, she has one message, “Feed hope and people will follow.”
Kyle Crocco is the Content Marketing Coordinator for BigSpeak, an appreciator of microbrews in Santa Barbara, and writes a column on Medium and Born2Invest.