Sometimes inspiration can be found lacking in the workplace. There are a million reasons for this, of course. Perhaps a large and difficult task looms on the horizon. Perhaps the targets for the quarter haven’t been achieved. Or perhaps it’s just been raining for ages and everybody’s miffed about it. It doesn’t have to be a downward spiral of gloom, however! Learning how to inspire your team can help you turn even the dourest of days around.

There are plenty of benefits to learning how to motivate your colleagues. For starters, the atmosphere in your workplace can lift dramatically when everybody is upbeat and on the same page. Naturally this will have an impact on employees’ mental health, as well as increasing the odds they’ll stay loyal to your company, rather than looking elsewhere. In addition, a motivated team is more likely to hit targets, manage their time well, and come up with super innovative ideas. Everyone’s a winner!

How to inspire your team in 7 steps

To motivate your team, you don’t need to leap around yelling motivational phrases. Just follow these steps and it’ll be smooth sailing.

Improve your workspace

People’s moods are impacted by their environment—who knew? A dreary office space can sap the lift from your team. It’s tough to find inspiration and a zest for your work when you’re sandwiched between a plastic fern and a cardboard box filled with old keyboards. If you want your team to feel motivated and inspired, start by decluttering your office, and adding a few touches of colour. Plants are great for mental health, and you can never have too many. Just be sure to water them!

Plenty of natural light is a good motivator too. Along with maximising the amount of sunlight, use warm colours and try to create a studious yet welcoming feel for your workspace. If the environment is pleasant, it’ll help your team avoid the Sunday scaries, and instead arrive at work each morning with a smile on their faces.

Get to know your employees

Don’t treat anybody in your team or workforce as a number. If you want the best from everybody, get to know your team well, including their likes and dislikes beyond the office. Each employee will require a slightly different approach in order for them to feel inspired and motivated. Taking the time to get to know your colleagues also makes them feel valued and respected, which naturally increases the likelihood they’ll respect you in return, and will share in your enthusiasm for the job at hand.

Make outcomes visible

When your team is working towards a target, make sure they are kept in the loop regarding changes, wins, and good news in general. Ensuring your colleagues actually see the fruits of their labour is a vital part of keeping everybody motivated. If this is the end of a long project you’ve been working on, make sure to show recognition and pride, and showcase their work. If this is a target that’s been met, make sure other departments are aware of it, so you can all celebrate the achievement of your team!

Reward hard work

It’s tough to stay inspired and motivated when there’s no reward-shaped light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure that when tough targets are met and deadlines are beaten, you reward your team. This could be anything, and the nature of the reward may well vary depending on the employee. Perhaps a financial incentive would work best, or an early finish, an extra day’s holiday, a gift voucher, or a tasty lunch. Even just a few simple sentences of encouragement can go a very long way.

Eventually, your team will anticipate these rewards, and will be more diligent and driven in their work as a result. Team rewards work well, encouraging everybody to band together to achieve a common goal and reap the rewards that follow.

Lead by example

If you’re a good leader and have managed to earn your teams respect through intelligent and empathetic decision making and problem-solving, your employees will feel inspired simply by your actions. Show diligence; show up early and be the last to leave. Speak with conviction and passion, and educate yourself on the minutiae of each of your colleagues roles so you can discuss their daily projects with them in detail, as well as understanding and relating to their struggles.

Passion is infectious, and the vast majority of us often wish we had more of it. People are always seeking out ambitious, driven leaders to follow, and if you can at least do a good impression of what that might look like, your team will draw a ton of inspiration from you.

Allow innovation

Just because something has always been done a certain way, you don’t have to keep doing it that way forever. If a member of your team puts forward an idea, hear it out, and if appropriate, offer them a chance to act on it. This might be a slight rearranging of workflows, or of the usual structure of your meetings. Whatever it is, listening to your team’s ideas and enacting them is a sure-fire way to make your employees feel valued and listened to.

Never stop learning

Allow your team to see you training and upskilling yourself, while simultaneously offering them the chance to do so. Courses, away days, training sessions—offer everything you can to your team, while also taking them yourself. It’s inspiring to witness another person actively seeking to improve themselves, and often sets off the thought process that leads to us doing the same thing.

The added benefit, of course, is that you’ll continue to grow as an individual and as a manager or team leader, giving you a constant source of new information and inspiration that can then filter down to your team.

If you stick to the seven steps above, you’ll be well on your way to leading a dynamic, driven, inspired team.