Updated: Jun 26, 2020
"It's amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions."
For me this quote from Charles F Kettering's summarises the essence of Inspirational Leadership.
In order to be inspirational to others, you must first inspire yourself with a vision that is congruent with your personal truth.
The very act of letting go of what we believe others want to see in us, frees us to be true to our own beliefs, goals and vision. It is this kind of authenticity that not only inspires us to pursue our dreams but inspires others to join us on the same path.
Over the course of my long career I have had the privilege of working with many inspirational leaders, each unique and amazing in their own way but the common threads that bind them in their approach to inspiring, energising and uplifting those around them are unmistakable.
Authenticity is about understanding and acting in accordance with your true self. It is not about being a better person rather a more real one.
Being authentic requires that we strip back the layers of pre-conceived beliefs, ideas and behaviors in order to fully understand our own unique set of beliefs, ideas and goals, which can be sustained over the long term with courage and conviction.
Those who lead from a place of truth are willing to stand out from the crowd rather than follow the path of least resistance and compliance. They exude the kind of confidence that comes from being completely at ease with themselves, which in turn allows them to be open to, and accepting of others.
Inspirational leaders are such because they not only inspire with their beliefs but with the way they communicate those beliefs, the way they uphold them with their own action, and the way they present their authenticity to the outside world through their appearance.
Their credibility and ability to inspire others to join their journey is based on complete synchronicity between what they believe, what they say, what they do, and how they show up in their daily lives.
Inspiring leaders always stand behind their promises and actions.
Because their world view is based on being authentic to themselves and honoring their own truth, dealing with honesty and integrity is second nature to them - anything less than that would create the kind of internal dissonance that would be counter to their very core.
Their personal and professional beliefs, values, ethics and actions are in complete alignment. They will deliver on their promises regardless of the personal or professional cost involved.
The hallmark of inspirational leaders is their ability to give of themselves regardless of personal gain.
They seek to mobilise the creative drive of those that follow them - not for their own needs - but to help others to realise their own goals and ambitions.
They work both inside and outside of their official roles to create stronger communication, collaboration, and more effective personal relationships.
Such leaders rarely invoke boundaries between personal and professional contribution - giving the best of themselves in any given situation is simply how they are.
Inspiring leaders take communication to an art form by sharing information in ways that are appropriate, clear, relevant, engaging and compelling.
The leaders communication is 100% vision focused rather than self focused. Their commitment to their personal truth at all times has long since made ego redundant in the communication equation.
Their aim is only to explain their vision but to help others understand their relevance to achieving it.
Their words literally have the ability to create the physical energy that inspires people to take action.
6. Trail Blazers
Inspirational leaders do not deal in the realm of the mundane and ordinary.
Their ability to think laterally enables them to move beyond the boundaries of what has always been, past what is possible, and into the territory of the as yet unimagined.
They not only set forth a vision of new possibilities but invite and inspire others to share the dream and co-invent the solution.
The inspirational leader is as comfortable with leading as he is with following.
Inspiring others is as much about being able to set forth a vision as it is about being open to others interpretation and delivery of it.
Inspirational leaders operate on the premise that the opportunities for learning and growing are limitless. Their lack of ego enables them to not only accept, but embrace the opportunity to learn from others.
For such leaders the acts of teaching and learning are but two sides of the same coin.
In order to progress your own journey on the path of Inspirational Leadership I invite you to download a copy of my complimentary INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP QUESTIONNAIRE