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7 Ways to Create an Inspired Team Teams achieve more for leaders who look for opportunities to praise employees.

By Sherrie Campbell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Business leaders understand that employees are the greatest asset their company has, making attitude the greatest determinant of success. Wise business leaders focus on what is "right" in their company and in their employees. Using intimidation and uncertainty to spurn productivity yields limited, temporary results. That type of coercive motivational approach is totally counterproductive in the long term. A workplace imbued with a positive mindset has the greatest potential. The enhanced psychological well-being of its employees greatly enhances their achievement and performance outcomes.

1. Recognition of effort.

Employees are motivated by many different things but common to all is the desire for recognition and praise. You will naturally seek out and pay attention to the positives in your employees when you make a commitment to express thankfulness in the work environment. You become attuned to their hard work and their many accomplishments.

Positivity, like negativity, is contagious and should begin with managers, supervisors etc. Leaders who make it their habit to send out one email per day recognizing an employee's contribution increase that person's morale enormously. The executive who starts meetings by focusing on the positive strides accomplished to date will find that meetings naturally take on a positive vibe and a motivated tone.

Team members who feel acknowledged and appreciated are truly satisfied in their work.

Related: Do Employees Even Notice You Care?

2. Build upon strengths.

Study your employees diligently. Observe and comment on their strengths to positively push them to their fullest potential. When you see a specific strength in someone, you will quickly know their optimum position and role on your team. Use this knowledge to refine and expand them. Assign each member a defined purpose on the team that they accept, understand, embrace and feel good about.

Being acknowledged as valuable in one's role is a great motivational trigger inspiring hard work and self-confidence.

3. Balance negatives.

Human beings tend to dwell on negativity. Negative thoughts are bigger than positive thoughts and are processed by a different part of the brain. Negative thoughts take longer to break down. Managers can easily get stuck focusing on what hasn't been achieved and what employees are not doing, leading to negative feedback that undermines those who work for you.

Build your emotional resilience while you are in the midst of stress or disappointment by refocusing your perception on what successes have been achieved by your team. Focus your team on their potential to overcome the current stressor or disappointment.

In lieu of criticizing and creating another setback, inspire a comeback.

Related: Four Ways To Pull The Plug On The Negative Effects Of Workplace Stress

4. Encourage adaptability.

When your team is taking on a new challenge brainstorm with them to explore potential obstacles and alternative routes to effectively bypass them. When mapping out new territory the smartest thing you can do is hear what each employee's predicted solution would be to perceived pitfalls. This thinking spawns creativity. Ideas start to flow between team members, creating cohesion, excitement and innovative ways to strategize. Brainstorming exercises build feelings of hopefulness within the team as they prepare to face possible unexpected turns of events -- a common occurrence in business.

With open minds, strategies become increasingly adaptable and success is nearly guaranteed.

5. Focus on today's success.

It can be demotivating when leaders focus only on the bigger picture and how far the team is from reaching the company's loftiest goals. The perception amongst employees is one of lack and how far off they are from achieving what needs to be done. To keep the team positive, identify and reward achievement of the incremental goals that bring the team closer and closer to the end result. This approach shifts the team mindset to "we're closer " rather than "we're not close enough." That increases energy, positivity, willingness, commitment and focus.

Little rewards are necessary along the way to keep the purpose of the bigger picture alive.

6. Support your employees.

Inspire your employees by communicating your confidence in their abilities to do what needs to be done to succeed. Only talk in terms of success, rather than threatening failure. Your team must see you have the deep confidence in them they crave and deserve. When you have doubts about your team communicate in a way that ensures their success. Offer feedback, rather than criticism. Do what needs to be done on your end, as their leader, to set your individual team members up for success.

7. Keep promises.

Creating a positive work environment is accomplished through reward, acknowledgement, group and individual recognition, but most importantly through trust. If you tell the team or an individual person their hard work will be rewarded, either with bonuses, tickets to a game, a show or through some other form of reward, you must follow through. Not keeping a promise will lower individual and team morale.

Walk your talk and follow through on all promised rewards for work effort and goals achieved.

Positive work environments drive productivity, efficiency and the overall success of team members and the business. It is important for leaders to attend trainings on how to lead from a positive mindset. Increasing the psychological capital of the workplace is a matter of leading one step at a time. Set small, positive goals each week with the team members. The benefits of little these acknowledgments make a huge difference in overall morale.

By creating an environment your employees look forward to thriving in, work becomes a place where they see themselves as successful, productive and appreciated for their hard-earned efforts. Happier employees are more productive, efficient and creative. Many people hold the belief that it is the external appearances of an individual's career such as their job title, a promotion or salary which bring satisfaction, but for happiness to be truly experienced in a person's career the work environment must first be a positive place. In this way, as you increase the emotional capital of your employees you increase the company's financial capital and ultimate success.

Related: A Promise Is A Promise: Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.   

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