There are many inspirational leaders who, throughout the business world, really inspire people to be better and to achieve their potential. Becoming an inspirational leader of people is not impossible but it does require work and continued development. This post, we’ll explain how you can become an inspirational leader.
Having a positive attitude is essential to inspiring a team; you can’t expect your team to believe in their potential to be successful if you don’t believe in their abilities or your own. It’s vital that you’re 100% committed to succeeding and that your team knows that whatever setbacks may occur, you will be there to lead them towards success.
This complete commitment means that you will be open to new ideas and constructive criticism. You will be willing to self-assess your own strengths and weakness, as well as those of your team, so that your team can reach its goals. We will cover this in more depth later in the article but for now, it’s enough to say that your attitude should convey your positivity and drive to succeed.
People need to have confidence in you if they are to follow your lead so it is important to demonstrate your skills as a leader and earn the respect of your team. What’s more, a leader who passes on their confidence to others will inspire success, as opposed to someone who comes across as arrogant.
Having strong values and staying true to them beyond the superficial will help you define who you are as a leader. For example, many companies profess to be “green” but actually do very little beyond a few paper recycling bins. If your values are only superficial you won’t truly believe in them and neither will your team. Your values need to define who you are as a leader.
Most truly inspiring people have a conviction and a belief that they hold dear above everything else; this forms their ethos as to why they do what they do. Give careful consideration to what your conviction or motivation is and find a way of communicating this to your team.
Having a clear vision for your team means that you can see where your team is going and how they will get there. This will provide you, and your team, with a clear focus so that you can consider how smaller tasks and goals contribute to larger operational goals and objectives, allowing your team to realise long-term success, rather than achieving only short-term victories.
It’s also important to have foresight in order to anticipate and prepare for where things may go wrong, as well as right. By preparing for potential pitfalls, and have the willingness to deal with the unforeseen in a calm manner, your team is more likely to succeed.
Utilising your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses
When you’re on the path to becoming an inspirational, it’s not just about knowing your strengths but, rather, you should understand which of your strengths are important and how they can be applied to your leadership role. Likewise, some of your weakness may not matter so much but others you will need to be aware of and able to use the skills of your team to ensure the success of your team.
A good place to start is by putting pen to paper; make an honest list of your strengths and weaknesses both in your professional life and in your personal life, as you may find strengths that you previous overlooked when you remove the distinction between professional and personal.
Armed with your list of strengths and weaknesses, begin to rank them so that you understand which strengths could be most beneficial to your role as a leader and which weaknesses could present the biggest challenge. If you’re naturally weak in an area, there may be little or no value in battling to change. Instead you may find it more beneficial to draw on the skills of those in your team. If your weakness is more of a knowledge gap, however, you may be able to improve your abilities with a training course.
One of the most common weaknesses is acting on emotion rather than utilising rational clear thought. There are very few people that can say, with a great degree of honesty, that their emotions play little part in their work.
Emotion can be both a strength and weakness but, as a leader, it’s essential to think things through objectively. Understanding where your emotions stem from, will help you make a conscious choice to overcome them and take responsibility for any success of failure. Not only will this lead to better decisions, you will command greater respect from your team if they can see you treat everyone equally and fairly.
As a leader you also need to be aware of the emotional state of your team members and have a sense of any fissures between colleagues which need to be patched up.
This doesn’t mean that you have to know everything, and it certainly doesn’t mean you should act like you know everything (!), but your team needs to know that they can come to you for answers and, if you don’t have the answer, they will trust you to find someone who does.
If a team member is sat at their desk stewing over a problem, not only will it affect productivity, but it’s likely to lead to mistakes. You need your team to have confidence in your ability to answer their questions, or find an answer, they won’t feel the need to gloss over problems.
Adding value to your team
Adding value to your team will help you gain the respect of your team members and will also help to add value to the team as a whole.
There are a number of ways you can add value to your team members including:
- Spend time with your team members to help coach and develop them.
- Stay current with new technology and thinking within your industry, that way you can lead your team with new, and potentially innovative, ideas.
- Regularly monitor performance and offer feedback and encouragement to your staff.
- Take time when recruiting new staff or moving existing staff to new positions to ensure the right person is in the right role.
- Celebrate and offer praise for individual and team achievements.
Read more about adding value and learn how to apply the aggregation of marginal gains to your team by reading our recent blog post.
There are two parts to any communication, communicating the message and listening to the message. To be an inspiring leader you need to be able to do both extremely well so that your team is clear about their goals and objectives.
As a communicator you need to be:
- Very clear with all messages you are relaying
- Ask for feedback that they have fully understood
- Be focused on delivering the message and not distracted by other things.
- Treat your subordinates with the intelligence they have, you should never speak down to your team
- Sell the benefits of any large changes to obtain buy in from staff
A gifted communicator will make their team feel far more secure and confident in their job so that they function effectively.
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