Leading the Way – Inspirational Leadership

How to Be an Inspiring Leader

What makes a person a great leader? Is it being goal oriented and dynamic? Is it being communicative and encouraging? Or is it having the ability to delegate tasks and manage an organization?

While all of the above aspects (among many more) are essential to be a good leader, the ability to inspire employees is a key characteristic that makes the difference between a good leader and a great one.

Studies have actually proven the positive effect of inspirational leadership on employees – employees might be feeling happy and fulfilled in an organization and might be working well but when these same employees feel inspired, their productivity doubles. So, it all boils down to being a leader who can inspire employees to work towards the vision of the organization.

Inspiring Your Employees

An inspirational leader has a vision which he is able to communicate clearly to his employees with an infectious passion which makes them want to be a part of that journey. Being an inspirational leader involves bringing to the fore certain essential traits.

Integrity 

“Stand for what is right even if it means standing alone.”

  • The honesty with which a leader leads has a huge impact on his employees.
  • Nothing is more inspirational than standing up for your principles and values in the face of opposition.
  • And when employees see their leader actually embody what he has always preached, that same sense of integrity and honesty is brought out in them as well.
  • They realize that the vision is not a statement of words alone and understand that their organization is completely committed to it and for employees, nothing is more inspiring than that.

Originality 

  • Being original requires courage.
  • It means putting yourself in a position that could potentially receive backlash even if the idea is well-meaning.
  • Leaders need to have this courage to be original.
  • This comes from the acceptance of the fact that they are only normal human beings who can make mistakes too.
  • They accept when they are wrong and learn from it.
  • A truly self-confident leader is also open about the challenges he faced and the struggles he endured.
  • When employees see the vulnerable side of their leader, they feel more connected and yes, inspired by him as well.

Communication

  • Communication involves explaining in clear terms what is expected of the employees.
  • If the employees are to deliver, they first need to understand what is required of them. But the leader’s job does not get over with that alone.
  • Keeping the communication going through the task is equally important – reviewing at regular intervals and giving clear feedback as to how further improvement can be made will not only encourage a healthy work culture but the employees will also feel more comfortable approaching their superiors in case of an issue.
  • This connection the employees feel with their employer will bring out the best in them.
  • Communication is not restricted to verbal communication alone.
  • A person’s body language and whether he maintains eye contact and pays attention without getting distracted are characteristics that are as important as clear verbal communication.
  • When employees know that their leader is giving them his time and attention, they feel valued.

Inclusivity

  • An inspirational leader embraces diversity and inclusivity.
  • Organizations are made of diverse individuals who will differ in their thought process and work styles.
  • This could possibly lead to conflict.
  • But the leader, by being inclusive, can make all employees feel accepted and give them a sense of belonging.
  • This is very important to the mental well-being of employees.
  • And by being inclusive in his actions and practices, the leader sends out a strong message to all the employees of the organization as well. When they see their leader being inclusive and appreciative of differences, their thought process too changes for the better.

Enthusiasm

  • Approaching every day at work with enthusiasm is sure to get your employees enthusiastic too.
  • A happy and positive atmosphere is bound to show in the results.
  • When a challenge is approached with enthusiasm instead of apprehension, it sparks of a feeling of excitement in the employees too.
  • Work stops being work and becomes something to look forward to.

Trust 

  • An employer’s trust in his employees goes a long way towards motivating them to do their best.
  • Being trusted with something invokes a feeling of gratitude and when employees know they have their leader’s trust, they will want to live up to it.
  • Also, it is important to make sure the employees understand how they are contributing to the growth of the organization.
  • When they realize the part they have played in the bigger picture, they feel inspired to contribute more.
  • It is also necessary to allow employees some freedom in the work place.
  • For example, some employees may be more comfortable working from home (provided the job allows it) or some may want flexibility in terms of working hours; allowing them these needs indicates trust in their ability to get the job done and the employees also feel happier having achieved the goal on their terms.

Fostering Learning

  • Nobody wants to feel stagnated in their work so it is important that employees are given the option to upgrade themselves.
  • Irrespective of their work experience or the kind of work they do, it is important that employees at all levels in an organization are given this opportunity.
  • Be it in terms of further education or hands on training, teaching employees something new to better themselves or even facilitating it will give you a rejuvenated work force.

Appreciation

  • Last but not the least, don’t forget to compliment your employees on a job well done.
  • Nothing makes employees happier than to be appreciated and recognized for the effort they have put in.

Nobody is born a great leader. Every leader gets better when he learns from his mistakes and experiences. All of the above-mentioned qualities can be acquired consciously – it just takes an open mind and a desire to become better. When employees see these qualities in their leader, they imbibe it themselves and this spreads a very positive work culture throughout the organization.

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