I assume that every leader wishes they had the power to inspire people. Yet, many believe that to inspire others, they must possess the uncommon charisma of someone like Martin Luther King, Jr., or Steve Jobs, the ingenuity of Jeff Bezos or, the innovation of Marillyn Hewson. Let’s face it once employees feel confined, bored or simply hate their jobs, the organizations they work for can’t achieve much. Leaders who possess the ability to inspire others can unlock potential and inspire employees to even higher levels of performance.
Yes, being charismatic, ingenious and innovative helps to be perceived as inspiring and motivating. However, there are also countless leaders who are believed to be inspiring by their employees but are not any of these. You don't have to be brilliant, innovative or charismatic to inspire but here are five things that will bring you closer to being an inspirational leader.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “Optimism is a force multiplier.” An inspiring leader imbues optimism in their employees, which builds their own drive to perform and create. When employees are involved in the decision making, they feel their leader cares about what they think, and it matters. This will also make them feel they are valued as a significant contributor to the company’s success. When people feel valued, their level of effort and commitment usually increases as well as their overall morale, motivation, and satisfaction with their jobs.
Know Your Story, Tell Your Story
People’s brains are programmed to think in story form, so “painting a picture” can make connections that inspire your employees to do the same. One of the best ways to motivate your staff is to share a specific story that they can relate to, or can appeal directly to their feelings. Inspiring stories encourage your staff to think and to find themselves in it. This is a more powerful force than simply telling and ordering people to work harder.
Share Your Vision
Rare modern-day visionary genius Elon Musk was able to set revolutionary ideas into motion and inspired others to believe in big, important decisions. As a leader, he demonstrates incredible perseverance along with his commitment to actualize his vision. Dolly Singh, former HR head at SpaceX, says about Elon Musk, “The thing that makes Elon Elon is his ability to make people believe in his vision.”
Inspiration often comes from being able to promote an idea for the future and vision for the team. Vision is the core foundation that empowers the organization to flourish to achieve goals serving as the directional compass for each leader within the organization to follow.
Teams can be drained of their commitment to a project when they don’t feel that their leader appreciates their efforts and ideas. According to a study by Glassdoor, more than 80% of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their leaders show appreciation for their work compared to 40% who are inspired to work hard when their leader is demanding. Expressing gratitude and showing you appreciate your employees can inspire continued commitment and productivity. Of course, the gratitude needs to be authentic and informed about what they are truly investing in the work you asked them to do.
Demonstrate Passion For Your Work
Employees are inspired when they know their leader not only shares a vision and mission with them, but that leader also demonstrates a passion for those things. Investment in what you do will inspire them to build more investment in what they do. Stay passionate in everything that you do and strive to share that passion with others. Keep in mind the saying, "Energy flows where attention goes."
About the Author: Michele Thompson Rosario, CEO of Bright Effects, helping entrepreneurs get clients, get traffic, and get results.