Inspiring Leadership: To Awaken the Possibilities

Do you want to be an inspiring leader?  Do you possess the ability to mobilize people behind a compelling vision that you are able to clearly articulate? Do you stimulate enthusiasm in your people and create a sense of belonging that inspires them to be part of something larger than them?  Do you compliment the work your people do that is aligned to the strategic priorities of the organization? Do you take an interest in knowing about the personal lives of your people beyond the organization?

Did you hesitate at all when reading any of the above questions?  If so, don’t expect folks to work long hours and give more if…

  1. You aren’t providing positive feedback for a job well done noting energy, effort and commitment

  2. You believe folks should just “do it” because that’s what they’re paid to do

  3. You’ve not clearly painted the organization’s big picture for all to “see” and own

  4. You don’t know who your folks are beyond the job assigned and an employee number

Life is difficult at its very best.  People do their best work when they know their employer knows who they are beyond a job description. Employees want to feel a sense of belonging and be supported by enthusiastic leaders who display humanness through workplace fun and connectivity. Workers want to know the strategic goals and how their energy and effort is contributing to success.

So let’s say you don’t buy into what I’ve described above…what might that look like in your organization?

  1. Detached employees who feel unheard, unappreciated, disrespected, just a means to an end

  2. No compassion or empathy for people which feels robotic, unfeeling, void of compassion

  3. High stress levels that manifest in angry behavior creating a domino effect affecting others

  4. Conflict (even when small) creates an emotional imbalance where emotion takes over logic

  5. If left “plugged up” the employee might explode if no one steps into the “box” aiding in the return to emotional balance

What do you desire to inspire? Connectivity, Sense of Belonging, Joy or Disconnection, closed silos, and minimal compassion

Try this exercise to drive home the concept of inspirational leadership.

Think of a person who has been an inspiration to you (mentor, teacher, parent, or friend).  Write down their name and start listing the qualities you admire most about them. Label each quality that you listed as IQ (Intelligence Quotient) or EQ (Emotional Quotient).

If you find that more of the qualities are labeled with EQ, it is important to note such impact is often a direct result of the person’s social + emotional intelligence (self-aware, self-management, “other” awareness, and relationship builder.)

To deepen one’s capacity for inspirational leadership, ask yourself the following questions –

  1. Do you have a clear vision for the future of your team/organization

  2. Do you lose sight of the big-picture view of the organization and get lost in minutia

  3. Are you a good team player? If you aren’t….hmm…

  4. Do you display passion for your work or those you work with?

  5. Do you create a sense of passion in others because of your own passion and excitement about the work?

  6. Do you value your opinion as more important than any others’ opinions?

  7. Do you prefer being a “one-man-show” – I lead, you follow?

Here are some great tips if you desire to inspire…

  1. Write a vision for your personal life – What am I passionate about?

  2. Determine the vision of the organization you work with/lead – What is my organization passionate about?”

  3. Articulate both visions in a way that express your feelings around each.

  4. Determine what you admire in a leader and develop your definition of inspirational leadership.

  5. Support open discussions with your team and value their input as substantive and valuable.

  6. Create opportunities for the teams to own the vision.

  7. Compliment and praise the specific actions for work well done. People thrive on being valued.

  8. Allow latitude for those in whom you cultivate leadership potential to move forward without needing your stamp of approval on every step of the project.

  9. Evaluate if your behavior is aligned with your intent. People are inspired by a person who lives their belief systems consistently day-to-day (when no one is looking or if someone who can do nothing for you!)

  10. Make room for fun. People need to laugh. Humor and fun are great engagers!

People are our greatest asset to achieve organizational success. We are born wired for connection and to know our energy and efforts are valued. Bringing more human leadership into an organization helps inspire folks. More humanness only helps and never hurts when you desire to be an inspiring leader.

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