How inspiring leaders work
Successful leaders have the power to inspire, motivate, and positively influence people. Well practiced leadership contributes to job satisfaction, motivation and productivity. JFK knew how to do it. Devote 4 minutes to watching Stacey Bredhoff explaining how he thought and communicated:
John F. Kennedy was an inspiring leader who, as we have seen, knew how to communicate. Men went out of their way to please him and women fell in love with him. Forgetting about the falling in love aspect, what is special about him and other inspiring leaders?
What characterize a great leader?
- A strong set of values and openness, trust and true respect for others
- Genuine humility and not afraid to show vulnerability
- Regularly reflect and have an unquenchable thirst for learning
- Bend rules, take calculated risks and sometimes guided by gut-feelings and tolerate this in other people
- A certain amount of flexibility to adapt to circumstances and make real strides forward
- Accessible and informal which is a very powerful motivator for their colleagues
- Not only skills and training are valued but focus is heavily on attitude, because, without the right attitude and motivation, nothing worth while will be achieved
So why do these traits produce results?
Simply because pay is only one component of job satisfaction. Other equally important factors are respect and prestige and making staff feel good about themselves, their jobs and the company they work for. In other words inspiring leadership produces results by contributing directly to fulfilling many of people's emotional needs. Consequently it’s also fundamental for a leader to have people skills and emotional intelligence.
Passion to inspire
Unless you are passionate and inspired about something you can not inspire others. But even that's not enough if you don't manage to create and convey a memorable vision that people identify with and want to be part of. A good way to make your vision memorable is to tell stories to illustrate it.
It's not about you – it's about them
Your colleagues are asking themselves what's in it for me? Answer them and don't make them guess, because if you do there could be misunderstandings. People should feel they own your vision and understand where and how they fit in.
Bring everybody into the process
Employees, customers and investors should all be part of the process of reaching the vision outlined. It's your job to solicit input, listen to feedback and incorporating what you hear into your vision. That way you make people feel important and that they are doing something meaningful.
Convey optimism and hope
Everybody wants a better future. Churchill gave people hope during the darkest days of World War II. Optimism has a ripple effect throughout an organisation so you have to use positive and optimistic language.
Encourage and praise people
Praised people flourish just as when you criticize staff they shrivel up. By encouraging you connect with them. Genuine praise diminish doubts and spirits soar. And that’s exactly the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Happy, optimistic and ready to go the extra mile to make your vision come true.
An interesting fact is that by inspiring your people you become the kind of person they want to be around. Customers will want to do business with you, employees work with you and investors back you. And it all starts with learning how to inspire and motivate. You want a company full of positive energy and buzz where people cooperate and encourage innovation and growth because they identify with what you are trying to achieve. And don’t forget the importance of fun. In successful companies people work hard but enjoy themselves while doing so. It’s a key innovation driver and as a leader it’s your job to inspire staff to enjoy what they are doing.
Video: usnationalarchives – You Tube