As a leader in your company, how inspiring are you to the people you work with? By this, I don’t mean, “Are you a good manager?” or “Are you competent and fun to be around?”These are all good traits, but when you reflect on the impact you have on others, do you consider yourself an “inspirational leader”?
Questions about inspiration rarely get asked in a business world focused on immediate results. Think about your company’s mission statement or the words used to describe a person’s job description in your company. Even in these places, you’re unlikely to find the words “inspire” or “inspiration”. Leaders simply don’t use this language that often. And the question I have is, why not?
Is it because we think of inspiration as being the work of entrepreneurs and inventors? Or that “inspirational leaders” must be leaders of large movements or congregations? The truth is, you don’t have to lead millions, preach from a pulpit, or be an inventor. To be an inspirational leader, you simply have to increase the level of your employees’ engagement.
Here are three ways you can inspire your employees:
- 1. Create a shared vision of the future that everyone wants to work toward. When people are inspired by what they are doing and working as a team to achieve a larger goal, the rewards are truly inspirational.
- 2. Enable your employees to be the most they can be. Ask any employee who says they are inspired by their manager, and you will find a person who believes in themselves and has a manager who has helped them overcome their fear of failure. These employees demonstrate more curiosity and take more calculated risks because they can operate outside their comfort zone. They do so because of the inspiration they have also made this a “fear-free zone”.
- 3. Recognize and honor employees who are determined and persevere through all odds to achieve their goals. Oh, there may be some sidebar failures along the way, but when you know that your manager believes in you and trusts you to do your best, the hope and anticipation of success are downright contagious. You feel inspired to act and prove them right.
There is another simple way to be more inspiring, too. Ask your employees. Ask them general questions like “What inspires you about your work?” or “What might make your work more inspiring?” Let them direct you to what is or might be inspirational.
Encourage your employees to look for inspiration, too. At your next meeting, you might end by asking those present, “What inspired you the most?”
By: Thomas Schlick