How To Become An Inspirational Leader
How To Become An Inspirational Leader
By Mark Wager
I just want to start off by saying a big thank you to the management teams of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and Punjas for their hospitality and hard work during the leadership workshops I delivered last week. I always enjoy my visits to Fiji and last week was no different and I look forward to the next time I come back.
This week I want to talk about the quality we most associate with leaders and that is the quality to inspire people. With research showing that approximately 25% (33% in larger organisations) of staff consider their immediate manager or supervisor as a poor leader the people who have this rare quality to inspire teams are in great demand because many companies are starting to realise the true impact that inspirational leaders can have on productivity and profitability. Yet the same companies often fail to realise that inspirational leaders can be created. It's not easy but any leader who is committed to becoming better can learn the common traits that all inspirational leaders share.
The first trait that all inspirational leaders share is authenticity. Whatever they believe in, whatever it is that they want to achieve you can doubt that they believe in what they say with all their heart. People know something is wrong if the leader is not being authentic even if they can't articulate it there's that little doubt or gut feeling that tells them that something is wrong. If you want to inspire people you have to convince them of your message and that will never happen unless you can convince yourself, be authentic.
Have a vision
There are many good people who are true and authentic but there aren't many with a vision. Inspirational leaders have a clear vision that drives their inner motivation. The vision can come in all shapes and sizes but what is consistent is that the vision is greater than anything they can achieve themselves and is even greater than the individuals in the team, it's a vision that can only be realised by everyone working together. If the vision is something that the team wants them people will find a way to work together and to overcome any obstacles in their way.
Have a plan
A vision enables people to believe in a leader but it's the leaders expertise to put a plan together which allows people to commit their trust in their leader. Inspirational leaders know how to turn a vision into a reality. When you talk to an inspirational leader it's clear which ones have a plan that not only will work but is able to be communicated with their team. It's these leaders that have what I call 10-1-10 pitches. This when a leader can explain their plan in the simplest terms in 10 seconds, they can give a brief overview in 1 minute and a detailed explanation in 10 minutes. Inspirational leaders can deliver these 10-1-10 pitches.
Genuinely care about people
I work with companies of all industries and from all counties and whenever I ask employees what d they like about their CEO not once have I ever heard anyone talk about the leaders ability to compile reports or to close deals, both without doubt important qualities but not what employees truly value. When employees talk about inspirational leaders they work with, the most common reason I hear is "he/she cares about us" "they know us by name" the relationship between leaders and followers are like all relationships. It's the small things that count because inspirational leaders understand that what may be a small thing to one person may be highly important to someone else.
When you start at the bottom of a company if you make a mistake you have a queue of people who are willing to tell you what you have done wrong yet as you go higher in a companies hierarchy people become less and less willing to tell you when you make a mistake. A big challenge leaders face is the lack of reliable feedback. Too easily they only hear what they want to hear and not what they need to hear. The inspirational leaders are humble they recognise their failings and they always take all criticism seriously but very rarely take it personally.
Go above and beyond
Inspirational leaders understand that words are nothing without action. People look towards their leaders as examples of how to conduct themselves and often will replicate the behaviours that they see. Too often I hear leaders complain about their teams unaware that what they are complaining about is a reflection of their own failings. Inspirational leaders know that if they want hard working teams they have to go above and beyond what is required of them as leaders. They have to demonstrate those same qualities. There are many qualities that I can teach leaders but the ability to work hard is not one of them. This is a choice that all leaders have to make. If you want to become an inspirational leader then be prepared to work hard.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Posted: Monday 19 September 2016