What is an inspirational leader?
An inspirational leader is someone who aligns their values with initiatives that create passion and enthusiasm in employees. The inspiration these kinds of leaders provide motivates their employees to act in a way that promotes personal and organizational growth and development. Leaders who inspire their teams are more likely to have higher-performing teams that maintain effort throughout their employment.
Characteristics of inspiring leaders
Here are some characteristics you can enhance or develop to become an inspiring leader:
- Positivity: Inspiring leaders are ready to search for positivity in any problems they may face. They understand that positivity helps them move forward and find solutions to challenges and failures. Even though inspiring leaders know that issues may arise, they can troubleshoot them and show employees the opportunities that can come out of potentially negative situations.
- Gratitude: A committed team feels as though their efforts are noticed by leaders. Inspiring leaders show appreciation for their team, and they provide them with small gestures of gratitude. For example, you can give your team thank you cards, give bonuses, team appreciation lunches and other accolades.
- Vision: Great leaders have a clear vision for the future, and they talk about their vision as though it is already happening. This helps others envision the same things and inspires them through their words, beliefs and actions.
- Passion: A great inspirational leader displays their passion and enthusiasm for their job and the mission of the company. They also share that passion with others in the organization to motivate them to feel passionate too. This provides meaning to the work they do, and employees are more likely to look up to a manager who cares so much about what they are doing.
- Communication: Taking time to communicate is an important characteristic that inspiring leaders have. They know that communicating properly means ensuring that all employees are on board each time they discuss important matters.
- Listening: Leaders who really listen to their employees instead of just hearing them help make employees feel valued. Receiving your team’s feedback and acting on it when you can helps a leader to inspire others to do the same and contribute to a common goal.
How to be an inspiring leader
Here are five strategies you can apply to your management style to become an inspiring leader:
1. Understand what your team values
Becoming an inspirational leader requires an understanding of team members’ beliefs, values and emotions. This involves identifying what motivates your employees and knowing what team members value and enjoy most about the work they do. For instance, employees with children and spouses may have different motivating factors and expectations than employees without spouses or children.
Leaders with diverse teams should respect those expectations and have basic information about employees’ lives outside of work. Taking an interest in your team members shows you care for them, which can have an inspirational effect on its own.
2. Know why you do what you do
A large part of leading involves finding your “why.” This means you know your purpose, your cause, why your organization exists, why you show up and perform with enthusiasm and why others should care. If you aim to make a difference in your community, industry or world and this purpose is clear to others, it may inspire them to do the same.
3. Create a purpose
Providing a sense of purpose for your team helps to empower them. The best way to create a purpose is to unite your team with each other and the organization. To achieve this, you should define the goals of the organization efficiently, communicate how your employees make a difference and assist them with developing a sense of pride in what they do.
Inspirational leaders challenge their employees to improve themselves and innovate. They give them the tools to do so and work to achieve things together, resulting in engaged and productive team members with a purpose.
4. Demonstrate hard work
Your team should be able to clearly see your dedication to your job and the success of the organization by your actions. This means taking charge of projects, helping when you are needed and going out of your way to make sure your team completes projects on time. This does not mean you must always work long hours to gain your team’s respect, but you need to show initiative to inspire them to have the same work ethic.
5. Build trust with employees
The best way to inspire someone is to cultivate trusting relationships with them. This takes time and effort, but it results in inspiring your team. The best way to build trust is to understand and apply intimacy, self-orientation, credibility and reliability. These four elements involve honest communication, looking for shared goals, keeping promises and demonstrating discretion.
Read more: Business Productivity with Happy Employees
FAQs about inspiring leadership
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about inspiring leadership:
What is the importance of inspiring leadership?
Inspiring leadership affects people in the workplace and outside the workplace. Inspiration reaches a person’s heart and pushes them forward for a purpose. I nspiring leadership is important in the workplace because it:
- Increases productivity
- Reduces employee turnover
- Increases employee satisfaction
- Increases customer satisfaction
- Promotes an excellent company culture
How do inspirational leaders inspire their teams during periods of uncertainty?
Inspiring leaders lead others through their words and actions and using fundamental principles at all times even when they are uncertain. They do this by remaining calm and being positive about whatever outcomes may happen. Leaders help their teams to keep hope alive and they act when they can, even if there is no clear path.
Can I learn how to be an inspirational leader?
Inspiring leadership characteristics can be practiced, developed and learned. It may take time and experience to become an inspirational leader. You may need a few years of experience in a leadership role and to practice building your confidence before you can understand how to inspire and lead others effectively.