Inspirational Leadership

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October 10, 2015

One of the principle skills of leaders is to be able to inspire others. They bring the ability to make connections through effectively influencing and ensuring that collaborative work serves not only the business objectives, but also channels the interests and motivations of their talented employees. Inspirational leaders are those who can engage effectively with others, seek to clarify direction, create alignment, and gain commitment.

In addition, all leaders make enormous impacts on others, we hope these are valuable impacts, but sometimes unknowingly or unintentionally, they inhibit relationships and project execution, and thwart the creation of a high performing team or culture.

Connecting with others through influence – the ability of a leader to enable the group to come to a shared sense of direction, creating alignment, and gaining or maintaining commitment to the whole IS aligned influence – it is, de facto, inspiring others to bring themselves into a collaborative, outcomes-oriented relationship. Are we clear about the direction (goal, outcome, deliverable)? Are we working together to accomplish our work (not at cross-purposes, not redundant)? Are people able and willing to set aside their own interests, for a time, in order for our collective work to be successful?

The topic of inspiration also explores personal motivation. It is often said that leaders motivate others. I prefer to see this as: Leaders coach, inspire and guide others to see how their own interests can be nurtured, satisfied and flourish. In this way, leaders help others clarify and channel the motivations of others for their mutual benefit and the success of our organization. Inspiring others, therefore, means to guide others so their own interests are aligned in the context of collaborative work.

Think/Write Exercise: Think of personal or global leader you admire. What do/did they do? What values and behaviors do/did you see playing out? What are some of the characteristics, qualities and mindsets of inspirational leaders?

If you were to do this exercise with your team you would have the answer to the question: What does it mean to be an inspirational and influential leader in your organization. Don’t underestimate the importance of this answer. People work for years without ever being able to answer it and their leadership – often even senior leadership of the organization – is always a hit or a miss.

One great little book for your leadership toolkit is The Belief System by Thad Green and Merwyn Hayes. The book addresses how influencers channel motivation (my language here) by understanding what motivates people to perform better. I won’t steal their thunder (order it now, it’s only $11.00) but tell you that if you remember to keep the people first, you’re more than halfway there. Green and Hayes do a nice job at laying that out for you.


BE BETTER NOW – A Leadership Call to Action – Take a moment right now to put your thoughts into action

  1. What is ONE ASPECT of your professional life that might benefit from more or different attention in this subject area (enhancing the impact you make on others)?
  1. What is ONE THING you could do TODAY that would move you more deliberately in this direction? The Behavior or action I could take (verb); I will…
  1. HOW will you ensure you are developing – WITH WHOM can you share this goal or add to your brain trust to hold yourself accountable?
  1. MAKE a 10 minute calendar appointment right now to check in with yourself on this topic next week (better yet – for each following week). Keep it practical – write brief notes on two questions only:
  • What clear steps did I take last week for my own development?
  • What will I focus on executing next week?

Need some thought partner time? – Call/email at 336.918.8415

Practical – Relevant – Immediately Useful