Along with every leadership role you take comes the opportunity to inspire your followers. This opportunity is not taken by every leader. If you think of the leaders you’ve admired in the past, it’s likely that you found them inspiring.
What exactly does it mean to inspire others? It means creating conditions that cause people around you to feel excited and energized about being part of your team. Although you can’t “install” inspiration in others, you can plant the seeds and create the right conditions for it to grow.
Your company can pay your employees to use their minds and bodies on the job, but it is only when they are inspired that their hearts and souls will also be engaged. People who are inspired work longer, harder, faster, and with more enthusiasm than you (or they) might have thought possible. Here’s how to be an inspiring leader.
Inspire by Example
- Be clear and enthusiastic about your own life purpose and goals. The most inspiring leaders are themselves inspired and excited about the purpose of their lives or their missions. Do you know what yours is? If not, consider what you believe is your primary focus, mission, or “calling” in life. Can you articulate this mission in a few simple words? Do you feel inspired when you express it to others? Sharing your excitement is often a catalyst for others to join in the pursuit of that mission or to find their own, equally inspiring purposes.
- Share stories from your own experience. People who capture the hearts of others and leave them feeling uplifted often do so by sharing stories about their own struggles, mistakes, and life lessons. Be willing to share the human, fallible side of your life experience rather than trying to maintain the fagade of a perfect leader who never has doubts or struggles.
- Focus on the dreams and goals of others. If you think about the people you have found inspiring in your own life, it’s likely that those people took the time to talk with you and listen to your dreams, goals, and frustrations. They were probably much less focused on what they wanted and much more focused on what others wanted. Get to know your employees and other people with whom you regularly interact. Find out what they want to achieve. Ask what you can do to help. Use your influence to make things happen that make life better for everyone, not just yourself. Adopt a service mindset. Do this not only because it will motivate others to work longer, harder, or faster, but because you truly care about their well-being.
Create and communicate a clear, positive, inclusive vision of the goals to be achieved by your team. People are unlikely to be inspired in situations where they don’t know or understand what goals they are working toward or they don’t feel their efforts matter much.
- Ensure that you are clear about the goals that have been assigned to your team by management above you. Communicate these goals to your people and listen carefully to their feedback.
- Have the team develop plans for achieving these goals. Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate and contribute to the plan, which will encourage buy-in by all members.
- Help others to bring out the best in themselves. Identify the unique talents and abilities of your employees and ensure that they understand how they can contribute to the overall plan and vision. Keep the vision front and center. When things seem to be going off track and people are losing their focus, remind the team of what they are working toward.
- Commit to communicating employees’ concerns to upper management if something seems confusing or unworkable. Even better, have your boss join the next employee meeting to hear their concerns face-to-face.
Source of Reference: Bryn Hughes