How To Practice Inspirational Leadership (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 17, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The quality of leadership within a business or organization is often a factor in its success. Though many employees give a certain amount of respect and obedience to a senior leader due to their position in the company, simply holding a leadership title doesn't guarantee that you can lead your team effectively. The best leaders aim to inspire their team toward achieving personal and professional success and create a culture of motivation in their workplace.

In this article, we discuss the qualities of an inspirational leader and how to model inspirational leadership within your own workplace.

What is inspirational leadership?

Inspirational leadership is the ability to be a positive influence on those around you and motivate others toward success. Employers of any experience level can practice inspirational leadership, whether they're executives or entry-level employees. Inspirational leadership offers your employees or colleagues opportunities to develop their ambition based on your actions and attitude.

Related: 4 Leadership Activities To Empower Your Team 


Benefits of inspirational leadership

Inspirational leaders can empower others to develop a passion for their work and how they accomplish it. They often invest in developing the talent of those around them and can help a business flourish by demonstrating their commitment to their work and values. There are multiple benefits of inspirational leadership, including:

  • Meeting goals: Teams with inspirational leaders may be more likely to meet and exceed their goals. Inspirational leaders align their work with the values of their team, encouraging others to set ambitious goals and accomplish them consistently.

  • Increased engagement: Inspirational leaders promote a clear sense of purpose to their team that helps each individual find more value in their work. By practicing inspirational leadership, you can increase overall engagement among your colleagues.

  • Committed employees: When employees see a leader modeling a strong work ethic, they may often aspire to the same level of commitment. Employees enjoy working with people who inspire them, and they may commit to a company largely because of an excellent and inspirational manager.

Related: 18 Types of Leadership Assessments


Traits of an inspirational leader

Inspirational leaders not only direct their team toward exceeding their goals but motivate each team member toward their own personal best. They often accomplish this by modeling the skills, traits and attitudes that they want the employees to demonstrate. Here are some traits of an inspirational leader:

  • Positivity: Inspirational leaders maintain a positive attitude in order to increase office morale. Positivity can be a powerful motivator in a team environment.

  • Gratitude: People are often more likely to repeat successful behaviors often if they receive thanks for their hard work. By showing gratitude and recognizing how others give you support, you can inspire others to continue utilizing their talents.

  • Curiosity: Inspirational leaders pursue learning and ask questions regularly. Curiosity can inspire others to seek out opportunities for growth as well.

  • Passion: To inspire others, it helps to have a passion for the work you do and the people you work with. Genuinely caring about your company's mission and the well-being of your team helps to model passion to which others can aspire.

  • Integrity: Integrity shows others they can rely on your judgment and trust you with sensitive issues. Displaying integrity can create a trusting environment that inspires others to uphold similar values.

  • Tact: Being able to handle a difficult situation with tact and grace can help to inspire others as they encounter challenges. Inspirational leaders model tact to promote open communication and consideration of others.

  • Growth mindset: Leaders who inspire others consistently create opportunities for growth. Inspirational leaders demonstrate a growth mindset and encourage those around them to do so as well.

Related: 5 Qualities That Define Charismatic Leadership


How to develop inspirational leadership skills

Some leaders may seem to have a natural talent for inspiring others, but there are many ways to develop your skills as an inspirational leader.

Here are steps to help you develop your inspirational leadership skills:

1. Get to know your team

People tend to appreciate it when others take the time to get to know them, especially in the workplace. By learning about what your teammates value and how they work best, you can find unique ways to inspire them. Different things inspire different people, and understanding the individual personalities on your team may help you adjust your leadership style when working with others. When people feel understood, they may be more open to inspiration and guidance.

Related: 10 Fun Work Outings for Team Building


2. Develop core values

In order to inspire a team, have a reason for the work you do and guidelines for completing that work. Developing core values and practicing them daily can show your team that their work can drive positive change in their life and community. When determining your core values, consider what's most important to your team in their work and their personal life. Examples of core values include:

  • Community

  • Creativity

  • Hard work

  • Innovation

  • Respect

Read more: Core Values in the Workplace: 84 Powerful Examples


3. Develop trust

By building trust with your coworkers, you can build relationships that support growth on an individual and team level. If an employee or colleague feels they can trust you, they may be more likely to accept advice and guidance. An inspirational leader makes an impact by mentoring others, and trust is necessary for them to thrive. Trust between coworkers shows they can support one another through challenges and successes with their team's best interests in mind.

Related: 21 Fun Trust-Building Activities To Use With Your Team


4. Offer support

Inspirational leaders readily offer support to others before being asked. Offering support can help to build a sense of community and encourage others to take on more ambitious tasks. By making resources readily available to others, you can inspire them to take risks and actively pursue their professional development.


5. Take responsibility

Taking responsibility for your shortcomings shows humility and teachability that may inspire others. Especially for those in a managerial role, your willingness to accept shortcomings and make improvements encourages others to do the same. This strategy also displays dedication and loyalty to your team by prioritizing collective success over personal reputation.

Related: What Are Key Responsibility Areas and Why Are They Important?


6. Praise success

Just as inspirational leaders take responsibility for setbacks on a team, they also recognize the successes of their team. Great leaders don't claim all the credit for a project to earn the respect of others, and can in fact motivate their team more by sharing praise. Recognizing when an employee is doing well and being specific in your positive feedback provides motivation and feelings of pride.

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