‘Everything rises and fall on leadership.’
Dr. John C. Maxwell
It does not get much simpler than that; countries and companies rise and fall to the level of leadership that they get. People are very talented, but people also need leaders to weave their individual abilities into a cohesive effort behind one unifying vision. Leaders are indispensable for the success and dominance of any organization. However, how can everyday people who find themselves in the position of leadership inspire those they lead to phenomenal successes?
Leadership is not something that a person does; it is what they become. This means that every little action or inaction of a leader deducts from or adds to their leadership impact. The problem with most leaders is that leading is something that they do only when they arrive in front of those that they lead; their leadership is an act. However, the most accomplished leaders work to exemplify the ideas that they promote; they aim to make their life speak louder than their words.
There are common traits to be found in all inspirational leaders down through the ages. All of these traits can be adapted to the goals of any group or organization because they are based on human nature. Below is a sampling of what great leaders do to inspire the people they lead.
Speak The Common Language: Leaders must present goals that people can connect to; achieving the goal should affect them at a personal level or else it will not motivate them. People must know what is in it for them.
Have Long-term Visions: Something big and audacious that will give people the sense of being part of something great. We are all in search of greatness that is beyond our mundane lives.
Build Great Administration: Every king needs a general. Any leader needs gifted and talented people to translate their vision into tangible actions, by breaking that great dream into smaller steps. Every business leader needs great operations people to succeed.
Explain Why: Humans hate routine work; if people do not know why they do something, they will not do their best. However, they feel very significant when they can connect their small actions to the great impacts realized in the end. This is what the Simon Sinek tells us about inspirational leaders in his famous Start with the Why Ted Talk.
Celebrate Short Term Victories: When goals stay out of reach because they are too big or the leader keeps moving the goal post, people lose motivation and leave. Having and celebrating milestones helps people see their progress and retain their enthusiasm.
Confront Difficulties: There will be difficulties along the way, and when there is trouble, that is when people need leaders the most. The leader’s confidence in crisis inspires faith from the people. People will not be inspired by a leader who is unaffected by the challenges they face.
Recognize People As People: When leaders reduce the rewards people expect to money alone, they devalue the contributions of people. People want their humanity acknowledged. Taking interest in them as individuals, and not merely as workers, will make them go the extra mile.
Create A Sense of Family: People want to have a sense of belonging more than they want material possessions. When a leader is able to forge his team into a family, he has secured their complete loyalty to himself and themselves.
People are inspired by leaders who are on their side. If a leader establishes common-grounds with the people, he or she can move them. Inspirational leaders know how to stay close to their teams while retaining a healthy and objective distance required to achieve the broader objectives.
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