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7 ways to inspire your people

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Only one in 10 workers looks forward to work, and most say the lack of leadership is why, according to a Maritz Research survey last year. That doesn’t have to happen.

Here are seven ways to get across your vision, values and mission:

  1. Show your true colors. You can’t inspire unless you’re inspired. On an airplane, Richard Tait sketched out an idea he thought would be fun. When he got home, he talked it up and created a game company called Cranium whose headquarters is still a madhouse of joy and excitement.
  2. Say what you envision. Make it as vivid as you can. Early on, Bill Gates and his dad took the newly hired Steve Ballmer out to dinner. The problem, they said, was that Ballmer saw himself as a bean counter. They envisioned Microsoft as putting a computer on every desk, in every home. You can just picture that. So did he.
  3. Ask why customers should care. Before any pitch, negotiation or anything requiring persuasion, remember that your listeners are thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Answer that question. They shouldn’t have to guess.
  4. Tell a story. An organic food producer tells this one: A farmer who’d worked for a conventional grower couldn’t hug his kids when he came in from the fields because of the chemical residue on his clothes. Now, as an organic farmer, his children can hug him the minute he walks in.
  5. Listen. Imagine zipping up your mouth before you meet with customers and employees.
  6. Accentuate the positive. Gen. Colin Powell once said that optimism is a force multiplier.
  7. Encourage your people. Praising them for good work is life-giving, like watering plants. With honest praise, employees thrive. Without it, they dry up.

—Adapted from “The Seven Secrets of Inspiring Leaders,” Carmine Gallo, BusinessWeek.

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