Have you ever had the privilege of working for someone who makes you feel inspired, to the point where you actually look forward to going to work?
I read this story about someone who experienced an extraordinary moment at their job during a very challenging project with his team. The CEO of the company, sensing something was wrong, gave a compelling and motivational speech that left each person believing that they can achieve anything. Half an hour later, everyone left the room looking at each other and saying:
“Yes, let’s do that right now, let’s go for it.”
The late great Dr. Myles Munroe said that great leaders could walk into a room of depressed people, and transform those people into warriors. Note the word ‘Transform.’ My experience has shown me that inspirational leaders are a rare breed because businesses are run by what we define as managers: people with a list of objectives to accomplish, really skilled at identifying, giving and following orders, making pressure to ensure that these are done. In many cases, businesses can be driven by managers, but what separates the great companies from the good ones, are inspirational leaders.
Here are 7 characteristics of an inspirational leader.
Inspire a shared vision
A primary characteristic of an inspirational leader is to have the synergy to create visions and goals for the institution, out of the old vision. The leader must not only create a new vision for the institution but also adequately communicate this vision to others. In The Leadership Challenge, the authors emphasize that “by using persuasive language, positive communication style, and nonverbal expressiveness, leaders breathe life into a vision that is shared by everyone in the organization.”
Challenge the status quo
The Harvard Business Review asked more than 1,000 employees; How often have you seen senior leaders challenge the status quo. The result? 42% said never or almost never, 32% said sometimes, and 26% said fairly often or very often. Only 3% said always. Inspirational leaders, by their nature, challenge the status quo and are not afraid of change.
Enable others to act
Inspirational leaders are comfortable involving others in the decision-making process. If the leader empowers others and delegates responsibilities, followers can share in the decision-making process. They are more likely to use the participatory process to arrive at a consensus. According to Pielstick, when leaders foster participation with others in the decision-making process, there is less likelihood of escalating the conflict to emerge. The leader has a mentality that is inclusive to all followers, including diverse and multicultural groups. They listen to everyone and seek to create an atmosphere of empowerment in their organization.
Model the way
Inspirational leaders serve as role models for their employees. Because they trust and respect the leader, they emulate this individual and internalize his or her ideals. If the leader does not demonstrate a commitment through their actions, that organization will be full of conflict and quickly become a very toxic place to work. Leaders should always walk the talk, but it becomes even more critical to do so when their organization is going through a change.
Encourage the heart
Another critical aspect of inspirational leaders is that the leader must intellectually and emotionally stimulate people. When leaders inspire and empower others, the work becomes stimulating, motivating, challenging, and fascinating. Building on their strengths and enhancing their knowledge and skills, leaders can have a transforming effect on the lives of their employees by helping them stay engaged and competent in their chosen careers.
Persistence and Faith
Inspirational leaders are very persistent in the face of immense challenges. They have a real relationship, not a one night stand, but a deep commitment with faith. They never allow fear to rule their life; when they feel stuck and everything tried are not bearing any fruit, they dig deep and bring forth their faith and never give up.
Holding any position of power can be good for your ego, but don’t let that position of power create a false sense of security. Your employees must know you’re not above your shortcomings. “Leaders must not be afraid to recognize their own failures,” said Joe Chiarello, owner of two Murphy Business & Financial Corporation franchises.
We all fall at some point, but what matters is the way we pick ourselves up and learn from our mistakes. This is what helps us grow and makes us stronger.” Leading by example and having transparency with your team if you do something wrong or make a bad decision can go a long way.
Inspirational leaders are change agents. They exhibit characteristics that reflect a vision for the future, demonstrate an ability to influence others, provide inspiration and encouragement to others, and express high-performance expectations as appose to a toxic leader who belittles, barks, and demotivates their people.
The end -result of inspirational leaders is that people are motivated to succeed, and the institution is strengthened and transformed. Inspirational leaders inspire people to believe that the impossible is possible, and in the process, bring forth the best in themselves and others.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 310,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
You can download a copy of my book The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking the link below