A great leader is someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time. When you inspire others, you motivate them to do their best work, set higher goals for themselves, and achieve more. In January we talked about Living a Significant Life. Inspiring others is one great way to begin achieving that goal.
In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. In times of turmoil and stress, people truly need inspiration to fuel their desire to move forward; to put the ordinary and mundane distractions aside, and step up in a way that lifts them and those around them. If you want to be a positive influence capable of influencing others for the better, consider these simple ways to inspire the people around you.
Inspire by action. Great leaders focus on their actions and the example they can set each day. Enthusiasm is contagious. Truly inspirational leaders bring enthusiasm to their everyday work, using it as a powerful motivating force that helps others become more engaged and committed to what they do. The key is that it must be authentic. Demonstrating hypocrisy in any facet of what you do will lose the respect of your team and make it that much harder to motivate and inspire them. Consistently giving your best effort and following through on expectations and promises will inspire others to do the same.
Build people up. Many leaders only focus on sharing their competence and expertise but forget to show others that they genuinely care. Ask questions and truly listen. Make eye-contact while someone talks to you and ask follow-up questions to show them you are listening and want to understand where they are coming from. If you are asked to help, show that you believe in their abilities by providing a rough guideline, instead of a step-by-step process so they have the freedom to fill in the blanks and become a leader in their own lives.
Keep an open mind. Make a point of challenging your beliefs on a regular basis. Explore different religions, political parties, and trains of thought. Have conversations with people who believe differently than you do to learn why they think that way. Your openness will show others that you are firm in your convictions and are willing to look at things from different perspectives. You’ll also develop trust and friendship in people who think differently than you, and those who might have been afraid to approach you before will be more likely to step forward.
There are many benefits to inspiring those around you. Inspired people are more open to new experiences and report more absorption in their tasks. They also reported having a stronger drive to master their work and were more intrinsically motivated. Those who are more inspired in their daily lives are more likely to set and achieve their goals.
Have you had the pleasure of inspiring a person to take a positive step forward to a better life? Or has someone helped inspire you to overcome a significant struggle? If so, we’d love to hear about it!