As a Boss Lady, I happen to have a lot of mentees and team members look up to me. And by all means, I want to inspire my team and bring out the best in them.

For one, I want to inspire them to keep putting out great work, and secondly, I want to remember that they are not tools for work but human beings. I have to be sensitive to them.

In my Boss Lady life, I have taken a few notes that I will like to share with other Boss Ladies to help them serve their team better. Here are seven ways to inspire your team this year. 😘😘

Don’t Talk Down On Your Team

So, remember we are raising leaders – people who can stand tall with us. The word superior mustn’t necessarily be taken literally in a way that it makes those who work with us feel the exact opposite of that word.

You always want to make your team feel respected as humans with differences. Don’t display any character that puts down people.

For example; Don’t make a joke about a team member’s religion. Everything is about inspiring confidence. Language tops it.

Always be polite even when you are giving criticism. Ever heard of commend and recommend? (Ask a Toastmaster 😉).

Christine Porath in her TEDx presentation on incivility in the workplace says,

“How you show up and treat people means everything. Either you lift people up by respecting them, making them feel valued, appreciated, and heard or you hold people down by making them feel small, insulted, disregarded or excluded. And who you choose to mean everything”.

Show That You Want Them To Succeed

I know we say professionally, “don’t refer to yourselves in the workplace as a family” but to get people to grow an organization with you. You have to be all about the people who are all about your work.

The CEO of House of Tara – Tara Durotoye said she learned very early as an entrepreneur, that for the people who leave their homes every day to come to a workplace there has to be more.

She learned to stop referring to the company as ‘my company’ but ‘our company’.

You have to make people see a greater reason for coming to work. Make them buy into the vision, and show them that you care about their personal affairs.

Ever heard of Linkedin’s Tour of Duty? Where employees are moved up the ranks periodically depending on their career goals.  That’s a way to identify with the needs of the team. Learn more in The Startup of You by Reid Hoffman.

Sir Richard Branson says, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.

Always find ways to add value to your team.

Constantly Give Kudos For A Job Well Done

I read the One-minute Manager many years ago, about effective people management. How the one-minute-manager was able to, in one minute dish out praises, and just in the same vein dish out reprimands, – an intentional leadership style.

Team Leaders have to praise team members as a habit, not only reprimand them. It creates conditioning – that they are appreciated and valued, and reinforces learning.

Many times I have realized I hold the keys to many team members happiness and self-esteem, and the worst thing to do is abuse that privilege.

Many people are going through stuff or trying to believe in themselves. Realize they could use some hope from you.

The toastmaster’s sandwich method of ‘Commend and Recommend’ is the recommended feedback standard, especially when there’s a reprimand coming.

You have to always find the good in a team member’s work first, and commend it before reprimanding. Commend their good intentions, or make reference to their usual good works.

There has to be something to commend. Then move unto how they can do better. Notice I said ‘how they can do better’ not necessarily focusing on what they did wrong. Remember they have to feel good about themselves at all times.

Set High Standards For People Experience

I worked with a friend last year and was so impressed by her high standard of people experience. It inspires loyalty, as even I look forward to working with her again and again.

I like it that House of Tara refers to her HR Department as the People Experience Team because this aptly puts their job.

In fact, I was so impressed by this that at a Managers’ Training on Empathy and Emotional Intelligence I used HOT as a case study.

Now that we have established that incivility is a no-no! And that this whole article is about inspiring team members. We are well on our way to implementing a culture.

  • How do you mark the workers’ special days?
  • What are the benefits put in place?
  • Do you show interest in their work process or just the end result?
  • How do you react at a failed expectation?
  • Do they feel anxiety or inspiration towards work?
  • Do they feel treated better by other work teams/workplaces?
  • Do you deliberately paint them in a bad light before people?

It is when we can genuinely answer these questions as boss ladies, and take action to get our people to experience right, then we will be doing right by the people who work with us.

Don’t Set Unreasonable Goals

Ahan! So, there’s this impossibility fairy who told us doing the impossible means setting unreasonable goals.

The truth is being Miranda Priestly is no longer cool.

Of course, it turned Emily into a go-getter but wasn’t Miranda only trying to get Emily fired at first by driving her nuts with unbearable tasks?

Oh! look at me talking to only those who have seen ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

While we want to keep team members challenged, there is a difference between being motivated and being anxious. You want people to go out of their way but within reason.

Don’t push people.

Don’t set unrealistic timelines, or be overly ambitious, or set unbearable standards. We are all trying to do the impossible, however, let it be reasonably so.

If you put people on their toe all the time, definitely a burnout or rebellion is coming soon.

Teach Them To See Responsibility As Growth

So, we are still talking about inspiration, and growing people through responsibility is part of it.

While work must go on, let there be a growth consciousness. Does the work build capacity? Does it drive them to study and research? Embracing work as a challenge rather than ‘work’ serves as inspiration.

I was so pleased to hear one of my team members say that work means personal development for her. She said “I told myself I have not still attained my goals, so this year my goal for being here is personal development’.

Go for creating a work environment that is inspiring, and learn-by-doing. Don’t ever make people feel that it is all about ticking boxes on the to-do list.

See this Instagram post by Harvard Business Review.

Empower The Team

Speaking of a work environment ‘empowered’ is a good word to think of. Here are some more questions for you to think of.

  • How are you empowering those who work with you?
  • Are you showing trust and not micromanaging?
  • Do you promote them and the work they do?
  • Do they have all the resources to work with? Do you support them to acquire skills or build the capacity needed for the work?
  • Do you inspire confidence?
  • Do you encourage openness?
  • Do you show empathy? 

If you said yes to most or all of the questions then you have an empowered team already. Keep up the good work.

Here is to building people and inspirational leadership in 2019.

Can we go over the list again?

Don’t talk down to the team, show that you mean well for them, constantly dish out praises, set a high standard of people experiences, don’t set unreasonable goals, teach them to see responsibility as growth, and empower them.

This is reinforced learning for me too. I want to look at this list at the end of the year and it is all checked!


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