“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket. They put it on a lamp stand,
and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before others…”
Inspiring others can be hard work. It takes a lot to understand what makes people tick, and what will motivate them as unique individuals to perform to their fullest potential. Some of the greatest leaders have inspired others more through their actions than through their words. For example, take Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Both leaders inspired others with their beliefs and ideas for Apple and Microsoft. Although, they had completely different leadership styles, both men inspired others through their hopes, dreams, and vision for the future. This enabled them to build empires that other people truly wanted to be a part of, and contribute above and beyond their regular efforts. It also helped the people around them to unleash their deepest talents and capabilities.
Inspiration is defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to feel or do something, especially to do something creative. In my consulting experiences, the leaders who do this the best have a passion for life. Their enthusiasm and strong desire to make a difference is infectious. They live each day striving to be better, and do better, than they did the day before. There is also an intellectual curiosity that they bring to the table. They are inquisitive and have a desire for lifelong learning. Some of them pride themselves on leading with charisma, and being able to compel others with their charm, which motivates and mobilizes people to action. I believe the most inspirational leaders practice a simple set of behaviors. These are behaviors that any leader can put into practice with targeted focus and disciplined effort.
So, what are the keys to unlocking and unleashing inspiration? How do you become an inspiring leader? Here are three simple steps to improve your inspirational leadership.
- Give People Something to Believe In: Inspiration is about believing in something deeply at your core. Whether that is the mission of the company, or the ability to impact others, leaders that inspire stand up for something. They are willing to put themselves on the line and challenge others to be the best they can be. They also are not willing to change their values or settle for mediocrity. They constantly push themselves to exceed expectations and reach new horizons.
- Model the Right Attitude: This is all about walking the talk. Inspirational leaders model the right behaviors for others. They don’t just talk a good game, they live it daily. They model integrity and the proper ethical behavior. They operate from a base of strong moral principles that others look to emulate. They cultivate a reputation that inspires excellence and passion from others. Modeling the right attitude helps them to deal with challenges along the way, and it helps the people around them to do the same.
- Demonstrate Courage: How you handle setbacks and adversity never goes unnoticed. As a leader, you have to remain positive during the difficult periods. How we handle life’s ups and downs builds character, and sets a certain standard for others to follow. Remember, courage is about doing something every day that pushes us a little further on the skinny branch; that makes us test and stretch our boundaries. Leaders that demonstrate courage are not afraid to try new things, and they certainly are not afraid to let their people experiment with new approaches and ideas.
Inspiration takes work. It takes concerted effort and focus. Practice the behaviors above and others will follow your lead.