Often times in the workplace, employees strive not just to be heard — but to find purpose in their efforts. Small business owners, managers, and those in leadership roles are faced with the challenge of making their team feel more secure. It can be easy to lose yourself in day-to-day tasks and meetings, but it’s crucial for you to be connected with your employees. To help you build loyalty and boost office morale, here are eight tips to inspire your small business team.

1. Value people over profit.

Your employees walk through the doors each day, looking to make a difference in some shape, way or form. Whether that’s going above and beyond on a project or participating in a philanthropic project (we know of a small team that recently donated their bonuses to a charity sponsored by Melaleuca), it’s different for each person. Communicate value to your employees by taking the time to understand what motivates them.

2. Take notice of attributes.

Really looking to inspire your small business team? The key to this is knowing their behaviors and attributes. Employees often prefer a boss that genuinely cares about them. Show that you have their best interests at heart simply by asking how they’re doing and what you can do to help.

3. Learn, don’t lecture.

When you’re providing feedback to an employee, be careful not to lecture them. Fear is most detrimental and least effective strategies out there. Be a teacher, not a critic. “You” messages quickly put people into a defensive state. Facilitate the conversation and be constructive. At the end of the day, they desire to grow and exercise their abilities. And in order to do that, you must allow them some wiggle room for mistakes.

4. Invest in their time.

We mentioned earlier that employees want to make a difference. To inspire your small business team, allow them to participate in innovation and creativity-based projects. When given the right tools and resources, you’d be surprised at their performance output.

5. Encourage ownership.

Accountability is one thing, ownership is quite another. Provide expectations for the end-result and empower your employees. Communicate your trust in them and most likely, they’ll go above and beyond.

6. Be accessible.

You may have a busy schedule, but as a leader, you need to be there for your team. Make yourself accessible to them and spend some time getting to know them. This not only fosters trust but respect.

7. Foster collaboration.

Many time employees feel their work goes unnoticed. To inspire your small business team, encourage members to participate by asking for their input — or how they’d personally go about the process. This is the ultimate driving factor for innovation.

8. Continually build trust.

Do you know what’s better than a leader? A leader you can believe in. Create a small business environment that’s authentic. Your employees will be inspired by your ability to deliver as promised. The conclusion — makes it count. Show them that they play a key role in your brand and they’ll safeguard it.