Inspiring others

For a leader a crucial tool to lead well is to ‘inspire’. I have already covered a difference between managers and leaders (see post: Leader vs. manager). Both roles are important in any organization and they are mostly not even interchangeable. A manager has plenty  management tools to make people work. What about leader?

In the TED talk on ‘How great leaders inspire action’ Simon Sinek said: “We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them”.

How can one inspire others to do what has been previously envisioned?

walks the talkFor sure, a good leader is a good example and he ‘walks the talk’. People are disconnected from working environment when they feel they are not considered or if they are suppressed instead of encouraged and challenged (more in Leadership and “happy” organization post). A leader has to display  his experience but has to appear vulnerable at the same time. You remember how inspired you were in your youth when somebody  told you a story? So, as a leader, why not use the storytelling instead of commanding? All great leaders from the past used it.

A certain  ex-boss of mine dealt with hard or/and impossible situations by summing all of us,  waiting a while for us to calm down before the tension of what is to come was built. Then, in a calming and patient voice he began to tell an event from his past. In the beginning of his telling most of us had no clue what he was talking about. With passing minutes our conscious minds started to connect the gather pieces of the puzzle. At the end of those meetings we usually left with new and fresh energy to tackle the problem that previously seemed just irresolvable.
different characters
I know it is quite often pretentious to work with people of different characters.  A leader may inspire one person in a group, the rest remaining indifferent. What then? Should a leader abandon the vision and goal or adapt it to suit a certain team? Maybe adapt/change the approach?

Definitively, even if you are set to be, you are not to proclaim yourself to be inspirational. You’ll get the wrong perception as being egotistical, ostentatious or bossy. Better show it by trying hard and being integrative, committed to your core values, creating the environment where people feel valued and happy. Be fully engaged, show compassion and empathy to others, keep promises you make and preferably do not blame anyone or anything but rather take responsibility when things go wrong. It is a longer way and the results are not immediate but it pays off more than remaining to be surrounded by disconnected and not enthusiastic people.

I searched the Internet and according to the Macmillan Dictionary the word inspire means ‘to give someone the enthusiasm to do or create something.’ And a good leader should sparkle enthusiasm in all she or he does and in the people she or he leads.

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