Council Post: 20 Simple Ways Leaders Can Inspire Employees To Elevate Performance (2023)

Company leaders are tasked with not only steering the ship, but also cultivating an environment where all team members can thrive. Even with organizational efforts and human resources initiatives aimed at engaging employees, sometimes the most basic actions on the part of executive leaders have the biggest impact.

Simple efforts by leadership can often yield profound results, making employees feel truly valued, validated and inspired to give their best. Below, 20 Forbes Coaches Council members share small yet mighty gestures, practices and policies that can shape the dynamics of a team, leading to higher levels of performance, engagement and satisfaction.

1. Encourage Development And Learning

Encourage your team to continuously learn and develop. I’m not just talking about training—I mean helping them learn through experiences. Give them opportunities to learn about themselves and help them get clear on their unique superpowers and how they can use them. Give them opportunities to work on things they are passionate about. All of this starts with asking a few great questions and listening to them. - Sarah Needham, Unique-U Coaching

2. Practice Recognition And Gratitude

Recognition and gratitude are key to discretionary effort. Work runs at a jam-packed, information-overloaded pace. When a leader takes time to notice the distinct details of someone’s contribution and provides a personal compliment and thank-you, employee confidence and engagement soar. It’s not about a program, or asking for more, but rather using recognition and gratitude to unlock contributions. - Marita Decker, FutureCourse Education

3. Appreciate Small Wins, Contributions And Achievements

While leaders and teams work on vision and purpose, capturing the small wins of employees and appreciating them for their contributions and achievements is essential to keeping them continuously engaged and motivated. A leader can split the organizational vision into smaller components and hold employees accountable, making them proud of being included in the larger strategic purpose. - Anilkumar G, ACTIONRICH Business Solutions India Pvt Ltd.


UAW Union Approves Potential Strike At Ford, GM And Stellantis—Here’s What A Strike Would Mean
Teachers Police Officers Healthcare Workers Here Are The Public Sector Jobs Still Struggling To Fill Roles
5 Reasons Why Your Brightest Employees Are Disengaged

4. Utilize The Team’s Complete Skill Set

As leaders, we often don’t utilize our team’s complete skill set. Ask each team member, “What is your superpower that I don’t know about, that you want to use, and how can we make it so?” This autonomy empowers each individual to tap into their entire wheelhouse so that they can excel at what they are innately good at, and therefore do their very best work. - Beth Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald Coaching and Consulting

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Ask Employees For Help

To make their employees feel valued, a leader can show their vulnerability and ask them for help. This simple request allows the employees to use their skills for purposeful action, promotes engagement and inspires them to do more. Then, the leader can share their feedback and appreciation for the employee’s contribution. - Karen Tracy, Dr. Karen A Tracy, LLC

6. Listen

Employees feel valued when they are listened to. This can be much harder to achieve than it sounds, especially for busy executives who are running from one meeting to the next. But spending those extra few minutes every day listening to team members can make a huge impact on morale. Leaders who listen are leaders admired and trusted. - Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

7. Show Employees How They Fit Into The Vision

When leaders share their vision and explain how employees fit into it, it can shift employees’ view of their roles and how they can make a difference. This type of communication can pull employees out of the weeds and into the bigger picture of what they are really part of, so they recognize how they can more fully leverage their strengths and expertise for the company and themselves. - Neena Newberry, Newberry Solutions

8. Embrace And Nurture Your Employees’ Strengths

Research shows that focusing on strengths enhances job satisfaction, productivity and overall well-being. Encouraging employees to leverage their strengths in their roles and providing opportunities for their development can lead to higher levels of performance and a sense of fulfillment. - Anna Barnhill, Barnhill Group Consulting, Inc

9. Acknowledge Team Members’ Birthdays

A very simple thing is to know your team members’ birthdays, send them a handwritten card and encourage them to take that day off. People really appreciate that, and it lets them know you care about them as people, not just for what they do at work. - John Lowe, Ty Boyd, Inc.

10. Create A Board-Game Style Training Program

Create a board-game style of training program, with rewards (even for the smallest things) as well as challenges employees need to complete. This keeps them in the mindset of mastery and improvement without being so hard on themselves. It also reminds them of what they have accomplished, as it’s all visible in one place. - Sonika Asif, Lush Empires

11. Make Time For Your Employees

My most cherished leaders were those who would deliberately set aside time for me in their really busy schedule to have a chat, a laugh, a personal moment or a crucial conversation. It endeared them to me, and I, in turn, raised my game to not let them down. Presence is invaluable. Show up fully for whatever amount of time you can offer to your employees, and they will reciprocate. - Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory

12. Provide Regular And Specific Feedback

In addition to actively listening, another small yet impactful action a leader can take is to provide regular and specific feedback to their employees. This simple act helps employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions. By offering constructive feedback, leaders can guide their employees’ growth and development while also acknowledging their efforts and achievements. - Jay Garcia, Jay Garcia Group

13. Be Curious; Give Employees Space

Ask questions out of genuine curiosity and give employees space. Recognize their impact. Be as present as possible when interacting with them. All human beings need to feel seen and that what they do matters. - Silvia Vernaschi, The Mind Bliss Coaching

14. Send Handwritten Thank-You Notes

You’ll be amazed at how powerful a handwritten note is. Be clear about the context in which that person did something positive, what they did and what the impact was. It’s a very sincere way to acknowledge someone, and they likely will keep the card forever. - Dr. Joel M. Rothaizer, MCC, ABPP, Clear Impact Consulting Group

15. Give Your Employees Trust

Trust is built in the small moments, in how we show up and treat each other. So let employees take the lead on something, ask for their insight on a topic, invest in their development and make a habit of showing up for them. These small gestures indicating trust make a big impact on motivation and help people feel valued. - Justin Patton, The Trust Architect Group

16. Thank Your Team Regularly

Thank your team members on a regular basis. Expressing gratitude is a small but powerful way to make everyone feel seen, supported and empowered. - Carol Geffner, CB Vision LLC.

17. Be Kind, Often

By showing sincere gratitude and recognition to those you serve, you instantly increase their dopamine production while triggering happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment. This simple gesture improves the team’s well-being and resilience, which will allow them to perform at higher levels for longer periods of time. - Alex Draper, DX Learning Solutions

18. Listen To Employees’ Ideas And Opinions

One significant action a leader can take to make employees feel valued, validated and inspired is to actively listen to their ideas and opinions. By considering and acknowledging their input, leaders demonstrate respect, promote inclusivity and foster a culture of open communication. This simple act empowers employees, instills a sense of ownership and motivates them to perform at a higher level. - Tiffaney Williams, The Wealth Concierge Inc.

19. Help Employees Achieve Their Ambitions

Speak to the ambitions of your employees, and expect them to grow and advance. Ask them about their long-term goals and make a genuine effort to position them for the future they envision for themselves. It may seem counterintuitive to prepare your best employees to potentially leave you, but it creates a vacuum for more great talent, and a reputation that will yield far more than what’s lost. - Zitty Nxumalo, Deftable, LLC

20. Make Authentic Connections With Employees

Engage in genuine conversations when encountering employees in the elevator or corridor. Make eye contact and be the first to greet them and inquire about how they’re doing and their role in the organization. An authentic conversation that demonstrates employees are noticed can have a significant impact on making them feel valued, while making the leader seem approachable at the same time. - Neshica Bheem, Coachfluence

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Horacio Brakus JD

Last Updated: 31/07/2023

Views: 6061

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Horacio Brakus JD

Birthday: 1999-08-21

Address: Apt. 524 43384 Minnie Prairie, South Edda, MA 62804

Phone: +5931039998219

Job: Sales Strategist

Hobby: Sculling, Kitesurfing, Orienteering, Painting, Computer programming, Creative writing, Scuba diving

Introduction: My name is Horacio Brakus JD, I am a lively, splendid, jolly, vivacious, vast, cheerful, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.