The secret of inspirational leaders

Posted by: Joyce Matthews   |   No Comments   |  Posted on: May 29, 2015


Who wouldn’t want to be a ‘inspirational’ leader?

It’s an overused and highly coveted adjective when it comes to describe great leaders, memorable leaders; leaders who have a positive impact in peoples lives.

How do they do it? Everybody wants to know, and every aspiring leader wants to learn. What exactly is it they do to get designated as ‘inspirational’? How do they get to hold the ‘title’ every future leader desires?

The secret

It’s quite simple really. They give a ‘break’ to those they work with. They provide them with an opportunity comprised of three ‘magic elements.

This ‘break’ or chance, allows them to;

  1. Choose – we like choices; it let’s us feel like adults and allows us to exercise our thinking like grown ups. We all know too well what it feels like when someone says “You should do this” or “You need to do that”. It minimises our choices and belittles our intelligence. Choices give us the chance to take responsibility for our actions, and to make things happen.
  2. Improve their personal and professional skills – believe it or not, but we like to learn, to get better at things. The more we move towards competence of a skill, the more enjoyment we get from it. Remember when you first took part in your favourite hobby? It probably wasn’t as much fun as it is now. It feels good to get better at something, and when we get better at doing something, it improves our confidence at work and at play.
  3. Make a difference in the peoples lives – we get back more than we give when we help others. It’s part of the sacrifice and renewal cycle – it’s like the antidote to stress. Remember when you last did a good deed; how did that feel? How would it feel if you could do a good deed for your fellow workers and your organisation? One which improved turnover, or produced an innovative product or which saved money or raised your market profile? One that would make a difference to everyone in your organisation – that would feel pretty good, wouldn’t it?

And when leaders present you with an opportunity which comprises all three together, that’s when they move a little closer to earning the title of ‘inspirational’.

3 magic ingredients

Give people what they need, “autonomy, mastery and purpose” as Daniel Pink describes the 3 essential ingredients.

When you present people with the chance to do all three at once, you provide them with drive – the gift of motivating themselves; the gift of guiding them to realise their potential and to feel fulfilled. Add in some on-going support to help them on their journey and you’ll take the final step towards being described as “inspirational”.

And when you figure out how, when and to whom you’re already offering these opportunities that’s when you realise you no longer need that title.

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