INHISNAMEHR.COM had a great article today, titled Most Employees Are Not Lazy, Just Not Led.  It’s a great read, and captures a thought that I’ve had kicking around for some time.

Managers can make lots of judgments about employees:  they’re stupid, they’re lazy, they’re just not worth it.

But if you’re building a business that needs people, you have to get beyond this way of thinking.  Because if this is the lens you’re using, then NOBODY is ever going to live up to your expectations.  Your life will be miserable, and your business will fail.

Here’s a question that I sometimes give my clients:  Have you given the employee a reason to be inspired to do great work?  The immediate response, of course, is that the pay should be good enough inspiration.

It doesn’t work that way, sorry.   The pay gets somebody to show up and to do the bare minimum, but that’s not inspiration.  The word literally means to breathe life into someone – something that comes from the heart, from faith, and from a sense of deep purpose.

Here’s the component parts of my question:

Have you given a reason?  That’s work on your part, because it’s something YOU have to do.  Ideally, you’d hire the people who are already inspired to do great work for you, but it’s not something you can rely on for too long.  We’re all constantly changing.

Is it a reason to be inspired?  People need to be emotionally connected to it at a deep level.  Whether you call it a vision, a sense of purpose, or something else, it needs to spark something inside them.  And because each person is different, you need to understand THEIR sources of inspiration and tap into it.

Is it inspiration for great work?  I might be inspired for lots of things, but that doesn’t necessarily result in value for the employer.  You have to help the employee make the connection, then constantly reinforce it for the entire workforce.

You’re the leader, right?  So get to work!  It’s your job to help your people to be inspired and do great things together.