Work gets stressful. We can all attest to that. But it's the attitude you approach your work with that determines whether or not your employee engagement level is on the fritz.
If employee happiness has taken a turn for the worse at your organization, you need to take proactive steps to correct that trajectory.
While giving your workers additional perks and making team-building activities and professional development top priorities are great ways to improve employee happiness and strengthen morale, sometimes all it takes is a few words.
Not sure what those words might look like?
Here are nine inspirational quotes that Bob has shared with his subscribers over the last year. May they inspire you and your employees and peers.
01. On the importance of doubt
While we need vision, conviction, and confidence to be successful, we also need to balance that with doubt, healthy skepticism, and humility.
Confidence is critical to the success of any professional.
That said, being overly confident can be quite detrimental. It's important to realize that nobody is ever right about everything all of the time. By understanding that you don't know everything in the world and being willing to listen to your peers and even your employees, you open yourself up to new ideas while remaining humble and motivated.
Managers who not only listen to their employees but act on those sentiments will have a much easier time inspiring their teams.
02. On burning bridges
One of the best tips I can offer for satisfying the feeling that comes with bridge burning is to write down everything you really want to say. Then read it, sit on it, read it again and, finally, file it away or delete it. You will have cleared your mind without the associated ill will that such expression might cause.
Anyone who's ever worked somewhere they hated knows how tempting it can be to make your true thoughts known to superiors and colleagues.
But in the age of boomerang employees — folks who leave a company only to return a few years later — don't burn any bridges, despite how much you may want to.
Jot down your negative thoughts on a piece of paper to get them out of your system. Bite your tongue. You never know what the future holds. Don't say anything you may end up regretting down the line.
03. On the willingness to act
If you want to be an effective leader, it’s vital that you demonstrate a willingness to act on feedback.
Leaders can't simply expect to ask for feedback, receive it, and then change nothing.
In order to inspire your team, it is critical that you enact feedback in such a way that ensures your employees will notice. As a result, your team will feel at least a little more ownership of the company — inspiring them to try harder.
04. On putting ourselves first
If we don’t put ourselves first, then everyone we come across tends to get a suboptimal version of us. To be at our best — for ourselves and others — we need to make sure we are living in a way that leaves us happy, healthy, and rested.
All of us have been told, at one time or another, that we need to put other people first.
This is true to a certain extent. But if you take it to the extreme in such a way that you end up neglecting yourself, you won't be able to inspire those around you.
As selfish as it sounds, you need to put yourself first to a certain extent. That way, you'll be able to present the best version of yourself to those around you, putting you in the best position to help them reach their full potential.
05. On being authentic
The next time you give feedback or you are asked for your opinion, see how being respectfully authentic can work for you. This is especially important when you have a difficult message to convey.
Some of us are blunt. We tell people what we think regardless of how it will make them feel.
Others of us are passive aggressive. Because we don't want to be outright mean, we say things that are both inauthentic and disrespectful.
Still others of us are conflict-avoiding. We say things that are nice and respectful. But we don't actually believe what we're saying, so it's not very helpful.
If you want to help your company get to the next level, try to be as respectfully authentic as often as you can. Speak your mind. But do so in a way that respects everyone's feelings.
06. On moving forward
While it’s important to learn from the past, we can’t live in it or wallow in it. We need to be using our energy to move ourselves forward with productive solutions.
Everybody makes mistakes. It's how we respond to those mistakes that matters most.
When you drop the ball at work or something bad happens that's outside your control, it is critical that you do everything within your power to avoid wallowing in defeat.
When crises occur, figure out what you need to do to overcome them. Don't dwell on failures. Look for solutions and work hard to implement them.
07. On maintaining good relationships
When it comes to having a happy, healthy life, there is one thing that surpasses all the rest in terms of importance: good relationships.
No matter what you think, you can't do everything on your own. Every Steve Jobs needs their Steve Wozniak.
A recent Inc. article relayed the findings of a 75-year study from Harvard. Its conclusion? Good relationships are cornerstones of happy and healthy individuals.
The more positive relationships you maintain, the happier and more productive you will become. More opportunities will present themselves to you, too, since you'll know more people who will think of you when they need help.
08. On determination
Success often has far more to do with resilience, grit, determination or sheer persistence than raw talent.
Michael Jordan is one of the most famous and successful basketball players of all time. But Jordan — who was cut from his high school team — didn't become a legend because of his skills alone.
Jordan practiced — a lot.
Sure, he had impressive innate skills. But instead of resting on his laurels, he constantly tried to become a better player. The results speak for themselves.
You may not have the most innate talent on your team. But if you're determined to continue developing new skills and becoming a more effective worker, you can outperform expectations.
09. On working smart
If you want better outcomes and results from your team, then you must recognize and reward those who work smart.
In the age of Elon Musk working 100 hours a week and Marissa Mayer working 130 hours a week, many companies expect their employees to log long hours — despite the fact that studies suggest working more than 50 hours a week correlates with a dip in productivity.
While your organization might be tempted to push employees to the max, it's not a wise approach. Your workers are human. They'll burn out sooner or later if you constantly press them.
Embrace the concept of "working smart" — i.e., working productively.
Time isn't the same thing as productivity. As long as your employees are getting their work done and done well, it shouldn't matter how many hours they log.
In the event they're able to wrap up their entire week's work in four days, for example, consider giving them Friday afternoon off. It's a surefire way to increase work-life balance.
Bottom line? The more you inspire your employees and the folks you work with, the happier — and therefore more productive — your team will be.
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