Inspiration electrifies the soul. A boss can tell you what to do, but a leader can inspire you to do what’s needed because you want to and to the best of your ability.
Who comes to mind when you think of an ‘inspirational leader’? The likes of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Sir Richard Branson probably. Inspirational leaders do not have to be legends though, it could be someone in your life like a parent, a CEO, a manager, a coach, a writer, an athlete, a shop teller, anyone who has certain qualities that makes you inspire to be more than you are, to look up to for direction, and who has your full attention when they speak to you.
A person in a position of power may be highly skilled and knowledgeable about their field but may not necessarily have the traits for great leadership. They may not be able to stir a deep sense of will to work or take action because others want to. A leader is someone you follow but an inspirational leader provides a push from within to reach the highest level of capability within you, and who brings out, nurtures and refines your skills.
What can you do to elevate your leadership skills? Read through the following qualities known to countless leaders of inspiration and see where your strengths and weaknesses lay. We can all practice certain abilities to improve our style of greatness.
Why Does Inspiration Matters?
Motivation and inspiration are two different things. Motivation comes from an outside source, inspiration an internal source. For example, a yummy breakfast can be motivation to get through a morning workout, but Michael Jordan may be an inspiration to work out every day to continuously improve athletic ability, live a healthy lifestyle and achieve more than you thought possible.
Inspiration generates a personal want to achieve and realize potential; an internal motivation following in the footsteps of a leader. The difference in a motivated or inspired person lays in the extent they will go, the barriers they are willing to cross, the energy they can summon in times of exhaustion.
When you have a business to run, this difference matters because of the level of productivity and creativity that can be produced. Inspired employees will go above and beyond, will put in extra effort and time because they are working towards something that is not just for a boss, but for a person they truly respect and look up to. It becomes for the good of the whole.
10 tricks to be a Great Leader:
1. Show Your Passion – It is easy to tell a person with passion from one without. A deep stirring emotion towards what they do is easy to see. It is an unwavering love and appreciation for the work they do and it comes off in enthusiasm.
2. Spread Your Enthusiasm – Charisma and positive energy light up people’s faces and moods. Let your enthusiasm be the electricity that gives energy and inspires direction.
3. Know Your Vision – Leaders have a clear vision of what and where they want to go. This vision is clearly articulated because it is straightforward in their mind. Define and communicate your vision and how to achieving it.
4. Communicate clearly – Leaders who inspire, create a connection; they are clear, direct and display empathetic communication. No one can follow a person who is unable to articulate or show compassion. Speak directly to the needs and don’t forget communication is a two-way process.
5. Keep Open Ears – Listen with open ears. Communication is a key to all great relationships, and great leaders listen to hear and understand. They don’t assume to know what is being said based on preconceived thoughts and jump cut off an employee from speaking. Stop and focus on what is being said by others and you will find that you will be better able to help and direct accordingly.
6. Be Humble – Inspirational leaders are humble. They understand they do not have all the answers and that’s alright. Leaders use a higher position as a platform to inspire, motivate, encourage those around them and help to achieve their vision. Appreciate the team for each achievement toward the success of the whole organization and when you don’t have the answer remember it is alright to ask.
7. Develop Self-Awareness – Being able to understand your own emotions and those of others goes a long way in the skill of a successful leadership. To be humble for example requires you to be aware of your own character, feelings, skill level, and to understand others. Great leaders have all worked on developing this amazing ability. Look inside, try to recognize and understand where your emotions come from and why you react the way you do.
8. Be Truthful – Good leaders are trustworthy; they are true to their words. They take responsibility and give credit to those who earn it. Practice what you preach; allow others to know you are true to the actions you take and respect the achievements of others.
9. Stand Confident – Inspirational leadership comes with confident decisions, faith in the vision and a focus on solutions. When situations aren’t smooth, people look to those who are skillful in taking control and making decisions in a calm manner. Remain clear headed during all situations and guide employees through with solution-based decisions. This confidence will put trust in your leadership and keep morale and productivity high.
10. Coach – A coach stands with you, teaches and shows you how to do what needs to be done with encouragement. This comes from self-confidence and patience. Through example and empathetic communication, an inspirational leader coaches people to achieve higher levels of performance, productivity, confidence and creativity. Appreciate and cultivate advancement around you, give team members the room to take the reins and grow into their talent and they will show you loyalty, respect you, look up to you, and most importantly work harder.
Everyone is born with natural talents, and leadership is one of them. This does not mean you cannot work towards a great leadership style that inspires those around you. Focus on one or two of the above until you are confident of positive effects and then move through the rest. In today’s world, knowledge matched with sincere encouragement and coaching is vital to bring the best out of employees and team members. Practice makes perfect!