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The art of inspirational leadership

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

The leadership paradigm like most things in today's fast paced world is rapidly changing from one of simply 'managing' through authority to one of 'inspiring' a following.

Inspirational leadership is not just about meeting targets, but about finding meaning and inspiration in your work, and most critically helping others to do the same.

It is about learning to effectively navigate at many different altitudes with grace, and finesse, and to energise and inspire those around you to achieve their potential, together with the ability to marshal your organisations resources to maximise growth and innovation.

Inspirational leaders lead with a relaxed confidence that comes with a deep knowledge of the self. Confidence that comes with operating free of ego and self judgment, and a perspective that is elevated beyond their own perceived limitations.


Inspirational leadership is the ability to uplift and inspire people to perform at their best, however before you can inspire and lead others, you must first learn to inspire and lead yourself.

Personal leadership is all about possessing the ability to motivate yourself to achieve your goals, shaping yourself into the kind of leader that people want to be led by.

Both abilities are necessary for maximum performance. They are in fact flip sides of the same coin and you cannot be one without also being the other.


The starting point of personal leadership (en route to inspirational leadership), is to begin seeing yourself as a role model.

Lead by example by setting high standards of accountability for yourself and for your behaviors, and act with the assumption that people are watching and setting their own standards accordingly.

Motivational leadership is based on the law of indirect effort. According to this law, you are more likely to attract a loyal following by demonstrating that you have the necessary qualities to lead rather than by tasking others to follow your direction.


In the business world the two most important types of power are; ascribed power, and position power.

Position power comes from the traditional management paradigm of holding a title that provides the authority and credibility to order those under you to follow you. You are the leader regardless of whether or not anyone wants to follow you.

Ascribed power on the other hand is the power you attract to yourself through the kind of person you are. The corporate world is full of people who are inordinately influential and widely consulted regardless of their actual position within the organisational hierarchy.

Ascribed power is the hallmark of all inspiring leaders - attracting willing followers as a direct result of the quality of the people they have become.

Perhaps the most powerful of all inspirational leaders are those who practice 'servant leadership'. Confucius said, “He who would be master must be servant of all.” The leader who sees himself as a servant, rather than a master, and whose actions are guided by the motivation of helping others perform at their peak, inspires an unquestioning loyalty and following.


The traditional management paradigm states that good leaders are those that exude power and confidence, make all the decisions, and apportion actions to those required to carry them out.

The inspirational leader of today is none of those things. They are the leaders who ask questions, listen carefully, and build commitment among those necessary to achieving the outcomes.

Inspirational leaders do not try and do everything themselves, rather they get things done by helping others to help themselves.

They not only lead the action, they facilitate it - they are always willing to go first and set the example, yet they never hold others back from achieving their full potential.

They are highly motivated themselves, which in turn becomes infectiously motivating to others.

Inspirational leaders motivate themselves by throwing their hearts and souls into doing everything with excellence. They motivate others by continually looking for ways to help them achieve their goals and improve themselves.

Inspirational leaders exercise complete control over their personal evolution seeking to become leaders in every area of their lives.

In short, they are the men and women who define what happens next in their companies, lives, and communities.

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