As a leader, why does inspiring others matter?
Because today people want more than a job. They want to be inspired and contribute to something meaningful. People want to connect to their organisation. To feel like they’re part of something bigger – to have a ‘purpose’ for being there that extends further than the job.
Inspiring others shouldn’t be an aspirational goal
One definition of leadership is the ability to engage, influence and inspire others. While many leaders recognise their need to engage and influence others more effectively, inspiring others seems to allude many leaders as something beyond what they believe they’re capable of now – rather something they aspire to do in the future. This belief is holds many leaders back.
Who are you as a leader who inspires others?
Inspire others in moments of every day interaction – when it matters the most
While it’s great for everyone to get fired up at the start of the new financial year when the strategic plan and goals are communicated, or feel better connected when the engagement scores need a boost: in reality, inspiring others isn’t a task or a specific thing to do when the time is right. Inspiring others can – and should – happen as part of everyday conversations, communications and actions.
Inspiring others is about possibility. And it’s about change. When people see things differently in a way that’s energising and motivating: where there’s a spark for someone to want to be better, stronger and more of who they are. When someone wants to lean into their bigger game.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
Inspiring others starts with inspiring you
Do you inspire you? How do you inspire you? Knowing: what you care about; what you will make a stand for and speak up about; and what it’s all about for you, matters. Because when you care enough, believe in something enough, and have a why that’s bigger than you, you have the foundations for being able to inspire others.
Inspiring others means enabling others to see the future, their work, and themselves differently.
Inspiring others is a skill and practice – it’s learned. How? By intentionally focusing on enabling others to want to experience things differently. That is:
1.See the FUTURE differently
People want to know what the bigger picture looks like – where the organisation, department, and team are headed – why they’re there, what they’re doing, and why it matters. Remind people of these things by saying the same thing from different angles. People want to know their contribution is toward something greater than simply their transactional delivery and results.
2. See THEMSELVES differently
Challenge others with meaningful work: Create opportunities for people that appropriately extends their capacity for critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving. People believe more in their potential when they know they are developing and thriving.
Be vulnerable and make it real: When you share the real you and be playful through sharing stories about your (or someone else’s) experiences of failure, success, and hurdles along the way, you give others the permission to see themselves differently. No one is perfect. We all want courage. We all want to connect emotionally.
3. See their WORK differently
Talk about progress: where things are at, and whether that’s on track or off track and what’s going to happen next. You need to know what success looks like (for the team and every member in it) and be able to communicate that in a compelling way so others understand the journey, what it takes, and what the milestones are.
Focus on your communication: be able to reframe a situation so that others can see the opportunity or where the potential might be, for example, what can be learned or achieved.
Set people free and let them experience making mistakes. You can’t expect people to take initiative and risk, when there is only room for the status quo.
Bringing it all together
Inspiring others starts from believing in what’s possible – right now and in the future. Leaders need to see it to believe it. Followers need to see it to believe it. Be prepared to keep talking about it and how meaningful progress is being made along the way.
How can you start to be more intentional about inspiring others around you?