Your staff members should be there to take direction from you. You are their leader. They report to you and expect leadership from you in return. Part of being an effective leader is motivating your workers, helping to keep them on track and produce up to your respective expectations-and then some.

Here are some key points to remember when it comes to inspiring your staff members:

1) Show them you care each and every day

Be there for them, but don't micromanage. That's a fine line, but you can do it. You'll know when you stick your nose too much into their faces. Be professional and compassionate. Listen to what your workers say. If they mention things that truly need to change, implement the suggestions they give you. Don't make hollow promises that never see the light of day. Make good on your word and turn words into action. Anything that makes their jobs easier, within reason, is worth investigating. As your employees see the changes coming from their suggestions, morale improves-which also means employee retention improves. It costs far less to keep current workers happy than to constantly hire new ones.

2) Got Fun?

Make their work environment fun. Put energy and fun into everything you do with your crew. Staff meetings should be often and enjoyable. Holiday and operational themes can be fun.

Don't forget to smile! That one little thing is so very important. Your employees take all kinds of silent cues from you, and if you are walking around all day with a smirk on your face, it will immediately translate to them. They wear what you are wearing so make sure you are always the model for fun and positivity. This makes a huge difference in how each day unfolds.

Challenge your crew with fun goals or games. Theme the quarters of the year with a fun topic and involve them. There are a million ideas that are creative and enjoyable. Think of some engaging and unique projects to motivate and energize them. They'll appreciate more than you know the fact that you care.

Here is another question you may want to ask yourself.

How can I reward my staff?

You do that by caring enough to reward people for their efforts. Acknowledging workers on a regular basis should be one of your top priorities. It's interesting to note that recent surveys on the subject of employee rewards say that employees don't care as much about cash rewards for their extra efforts. What seems to be more important to them is recognition. Does recognition need to be expensive? Absolutely not! There are studios that have quarterly employee-reward programs that feature such award categories as "Best Customer Service," "Best New Idea," "Best Thing Done in the Name of Fun," "Most Improved Employee," "Best Studio Decoration," "Best Recital Theme Idea," "Best Idea for a Customer Appreciation Program," and whatever else comes to mind.

There's a difference between employee rewards and employee awards. Rewards can have a financial connotation, while awards can be understood more in the line of appreciation and acknowledgement.

Some studio owners take their employees out for a quarterly dinner to thank them for jobs well done, and make award presentations part of the dinner proceedings. Other owners create contests, with a grand prize being a full day of pampering at a local spa. You know what your budget will allow and what might work for your employees.

The important thing here is to make sure you have some kind of employee recognition program in place. When employees are happy and appreciated, you can feel it the moment you walk in the studio door. It goes a long way toward helping your customers, because happy and appreciated workers directly translate to happy and appreciated customers, which in turn, directly translates to a more than healthy bottom line. You can't lose because acknowledging your staff is a win-win situation.