Be An Inspiring Leader

One of the key attributes of an amazing leader is the ability to inspire.  I think all of us look up to leaders who do this well. The following article from Forbes highlights the value of inspiration in leadership and how that motivation results in the continued success of a company. Read the original article in Forbes by visiting this link:

Looking to get to the top of your organization?  You’d better work on your motivation skills.  According to a new worldwide survey conducted by IIC Partners of 1260 business executives the leading attribute Boards of Directors look for in an executive for a senior position is “the ability to motivate and lead others.”

As the release for the survey explained, “68 per cent of top leaders say they preferred a senior executive who could motivate and inspire others” over the ability to perform well. In other words, performance is a given; the ability to get people to do what you need them to do is the crucial differentiator.

For years I have spoken about the need for leaders to inspire, and when asked I always say the best way to inspire your people is to hire a motivational speaker. That gets a laugh if I am speaking from the stage. In truth, inspiration is not something you outsource. It must come from the leader directly.

The desire for inspiration rises in parallel to the challenges of the moment. During the financial meltdown of 2008, employees were looking to their leaders for inspiration only to discover that those at the top had no clue as to what was happening and what they would do next. Again and again we heard senior leaders say we’ve never seen financial conditions like this. In fact I recall speaking to an audience in October 2008 and one manager said he’d lived thorough at least seven recessions but none like what he was facing now.

And he was right. Too many folks who did lose jobs have yet to regain rewarding employment commensurate with their skills and on par with previous salaries. This is hardly inspiring.

But on the other hand most companies did survive and the executives who led them through the crises are stronger and wiser, and more prepared. [At least we hope so!]And this is inspiring, yes!

Inspiration that employees want is two-fold. First it must come from the work people do. They must feel that what they do matters to others. They also want to know that the work has impact that is, making a positive difference. Second, the leader sets inspiration in motion. It is the leader’s responsibility to the leader to ensure that employees are focused on the right tasks with the right resources at the right time.

Motivation is intrinsic. You cannot motivate anyone; they choose to motivate themselves. Inspiration is one of the conditions that foster motivation because when people feel inspired they want to become involved. They want to part of something bigger that makes them feel better for doing so. Such motivation is inherent to volunteer organization. No pay, but plenty of good vibes for helping out with a cause you deem worthy.

The lesson for organizations and their leaders is to inspire by example. A leader, as my colleague Mike Myatt wrote in Forbes, recently demonstrates attributes such “Integrity/Character/Selfless Courage” and adopts the “Values/Vision/Servant’s perspective.” When employees see that their boss walks the talk, stands up for them, and has a clear vision, they are motivated to follow. And when they see a leader who believes that his/her job is to serve (rather than being served) they are all the more motivated.


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