What makes an inspiring leader?

So, I hear you chorus, why do I need to be an inspiring leader? What’s wrong with just being a great boss??!!

It’s a fair question, with a simple answer;  because inspired employees are more than twice as productive as satisfied employees, that’s why.  As Simon Sinek said in his TED Talk, ‘no one follows a leader for the leader. They follow a leader for themselves. They don’t require motivation to act because they’ve been inspired.’

In reality, the title of “boss” only signifies power over others. To be called a leader, you must inspire your team through your actions and words to believe in a common vision. The mark of a true leader is the ability to encourage employee commitment and engagement.

Don’t just take mine and Simon’s word for it; listen to Richard Branson no less, who identifies the ability to inspire as the single most important leadership skill. And according to an international IBM survey of 1,700 CEOs, one of the top three most important leadership traits is the ability to inspire.

People who take initiative, who have a vision, and who can strategise, plan, and accomplish goals to achieve their vision are also considered good leaders. They display those skills when working in a team setting and, hopefully, their team members are appreciative of those skills.

But what about other kinds of skills that make up a good leader? Not just professional skills—you may be highly trained and proficient in your field.  This is where emotional intelligence comes in, which is defined as “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.”

Think about a great manager that you’ve had in the past. You probably felt comfortable going to that person with your questions, concerns, and needs, and they listened to you and worked to address your concerns and make sure you felt supported. And if (or when) you both had disagreements, they were likely respectful and productive exchanges.

Now I’m not a magician, so I can’t promise to turn you into an inspirational leader in 400 words! However, knowing and understanding your own emotional intelligence could help you, so if you want to become a great leader, then why not Book a call here with me and we can discuss you completing The Thomas International Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire?

But as a starter for 10 here are my top tips for switching your focus from ‘boss’ to ‘inspirational’ leader.

  1. Have a clear vision, mission and values and always act with honesty and integrity
  2. Set the bar high and create bold business and team goals
  3. Demonstrate an admirable work ethic – set the standard for everyone
  4. Be enthusiastic and positive – doom and gloom accomplishes nothing, so see the bright side of everything and remain a beacon of positivity in the face of challenges or failures
  5. Be passionate – Your passion will remind your team often about the “why” of their work.
  6. Work with your team – remember you are working together for a shared goal
  7. Acknowledge and appreciate effort – it’s a hygiene factor; human beings need to feel and be acknowledged. Notice and appreciate.
  8. Communicate and listen impeccably, and often – Truly inspiring leaders know that taking the right amount of time with each communication ensures that everyone is on board and moving forward
  9. Positively encourage self-development in your teams
  10. Don’t ever tolerate mediocrity – it’s just not inspirational!