The definition of inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative – a sudden brilliant, creative or timely idea. Often, it’s not something you consciously think about, a flash of inspiration can come at any time. I always have several notebooks around so when inspiration strikes I can jot it down, trust me, it will go out of your head as fast as it ran in.
As I think about leadership and inspiring others my goal is to help people achieve their true potential, to reach great heights of performance and success that they didn’t even know was possible. Having a steady purpose, and being a good listener help make me a more inspirational leader, and the ability to role model this to my team is what establishes the inspirational culture of my company.
According to Vince Lombardi, “Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow”
Here are 10 Tips I have learned that help me inspire others:
1. Be a good example
People watch what you do more than listen to what you say. We all know how little kids have big eyes and big ears. It’s the same with adults. To lead someone or something means, literally, to be in front, so that others can see and follow in that direction. Leaders are leaders because of what they do, not because of a position they hold or the title printed on their business cards
2. Care about others
You’re heard the saying, we must ask for someone’s heart before we ask for their hand. It’s true, and it seems so simple but leaders so often overlook the importance of taking a genuine interest in people. It shows that you truly care.
3. Be vulnerable
Brene Brown has become a phenomenon as a result of her work on vulnerability – for good reason. Check out her TED talk:
Others relate to ‘real’ people. The days of autocratic environments are on their way out. The leaders whom I’ve learned the most from were the ‘real’ ones whom I can relate to, and are transparent about their own path to success however they measure it.
4. Be a good communicator
Increasing one’s ability to communicate effectively to all audiences is a critical element for business these days. Talking to people about your passion is not enough you also have to listen to the people in your organization. To “share meaning” you must allow the ideas and thoughts of your team to help form your vision and mission, or minimally, the goals and action plan. There are multiple platforms of influence at your fingertips. I’ve invested more in this than I do in my car – it’s the primary vehicle for leaders. Watch how you speak and what you say on camera sometime. Seriously, try it!
5. Tell compelling stories
Facts tell and stories sell. They inspire too. Storytelling is even more effective when design thinking is used to add color to the words. Look at
https://www.littlepassports.com founded by a fellow EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women, who is now on the board of Facebook. She tells stories to children as if they were traveling themselves to a destination like Egypt.
Using stories to communicate your passion, your purpose and inspiration will bring it to life and inspire others.
Everyone goes through tough times, and most anyone you meet could be going through a tougher battle than you could ever imagine. When you encourage others in their tough times, you’ll be inspiring them to see the best in themselves and the situation. Anyone who’s lost a home to fire will tell you it taught them who really cares.
7. Be inspired yourself
Make it a point to seek out people, ideas, environments, and knowledge that you find inspiring. This will keep you inspired, and inspire others to do the same. This is one of the biggest reasons that cooperative working spaces are so popular, millennials more than any other generation love to be inspired, by being flexible and open minded.
8. Share from your experience
Each of us has more to share than we realize. Take the time to draw out a timeline of your life noting the peaks and valleys of the BIG events. We simply forget how much we have gone though and know as leaders. Sharing these experiences not only inspires others, it helps us channel what we have learned to build and hone our leadership skills.
9. Challenge people
Many of us have had teachers or coaches who seemed more like tormentors than mentors. Today, we are better for it. There is a reason that 94% of C suite women played college sports. A recent study from EY found that participating in sports has a deep and definitive impact on the course of a woman’s life, and we can see from the research that sports help to provide women with the tools needed to succeed and lead. They learned that being challenged made all the difference in their success. Check out the study, it’s very insightful.
It may not follow that all readers’ are leaders, but certainly all leaders are readers. According to a 2016 Huffington Post article—they read a lot!
When asked, Warren Buffet pointed to a stack of books and said, “I read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” And he’s not alone. Here are just a few top business leaders and entrepreneurs who make reading a major part of their daily lifestyle:
- Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day
- Mark Zuckerberg resolved to read a book every 2 weeks throughout 2015
But successful people don’t just read anything. They are highly selective about what they read, opting to be educated over being entertained. They believe that books are a gateway to learning and knowledge.
I read two books a month – I might need to step it up!
I would love to hear what you do to inspire others.