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"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
  --- John Quincy Adams

How to Inspire Your Team 

by Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE

It's the start of the new year and a lot of people I know were feeling a bit subdued as a result of a nationally tense 2004. The Tsunami tragedy that hit Southeast Asia ten days ago, however, has diverted our attention and confronted us with a poignant moment of enormous human loss and sadness.  We awakened our natural inclination to reach out with genuine compassion and we mobilized to share our resources.  

Situations like that put things in perspective.  We suddenly find ourselves feeling "in abundance" when just a month ago we may have felt constrained or lacking.

We suddenly find ourselves appreciating our family, our colleagues, our place in life right now, when just a month ago we may have felt impatient and distracted.

Holding on to Compassion

Is there a way to hold on to compassion, a perspective of gratitude, and sincere appreciation for others?  As a leader of your practice, staff or team, is there even an advantage to creating or fostering this "zone of compassion?" 

Indeed there is an advantage to lead from compassion and appreciation. Namely, if you want to truly inspire your team to learn, to grow and to do more. Compassion is at the heart of inspired and inspiring leadership.

Inspiring vs. Motivating

What's the difference between "inspiring" and "motivating?"

When you "motivate" your team, you are creating conditions which compel them to act according to your plan.  

When you "inspire" your team, they are acting in alignment with their own self-interests and values. 

One of the greatest gifts you can offer others is to inspire them. This doesn't mean standing up on soap box and giving an inspirational speech. Inspiring others is a lot simpler than that---and the first step is getting off the soap box. 

Three Key Components of "Inspiration"

Inspiring your team, your staff, or your colleagues can be accomplished by committing to these three actions:

  1. Care about them - Connect first with genuine interest in them.  Inquire about them, their family, their work.  Ask their opinion and fully listen.  They want to know that you care about them and perspective before they'll give much regard to what you know or what your vision is.

  2. Be inspired yourself - Instill in yourself the infectious energy of imagination, new learning and wonder. Feed yourself with a broad range of articles, books, and courses to keep your thinking fresh and inspired.

  3. Encourage others with your words and actions - Ask others to take on a new challenge that draws on their unique strengths.  Encourage them often.  Learn to communicate so that your energy is high---your personal "light bulb of inspiration" is turned up fully and in an authentic way.   

Once you implement these three strategies, you will become the model of inspiration.  Once you set the tone, others will emulate the model.  This is how the "zone of appreciation" is created and fostered. This is leadership at its best. 

I encourage you to take on this challenge of inspiring others this coming year.  It will take a few new skills to practice, plus a commitment to be a consistent model all the time.  Contact me if you want to explore further how to get started. 

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE is an executive coach and business consultant.  She is president of The Gaillour Group and director  of Creative Strategies in Physician Leadership.  Dr. Gaillour is a professional speaker on healthcare leadership,  cultural change and physician career development.  

She can be reached at (888) 562-7289 or francine@physicianleadership.com

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
15600 NE 8th Street, Suite B1-173
Bellevue, WA  98008
(206) 686-4205

Francine R. Gaillour, MD   2006 Ki Health, Inc.