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Inspirational leadership in action

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Neglecting the human connection as a key business driver is no longer an option.

Recent research has shown a very clear, and significant link between leadership style, and personal and team performance, marking it as one of the strongest points of competitive advantage a company can sustain.

An interesting piece of research conducted by Towers Watson focused on 50 global companies, comparing those with low regard for sustainable leadership strategies, versus those who valued the new leadership paradigm. The new leadership paradigm markers included a people-first leadership approach, along with emphasis on work-life balance, job clarity, management support, and ethical business practices.

The study found that those companies with low engagement had an average operating margin under 10 percent, whereas those with a high engagement, the average one-year operating margin was close to three times that figure, at just over 27 percent. There is strong evidence that these results are directly linked to the positive impact that a more Inspirational Leadership approach has on employee engagement and performance.

As aspirational as it may seem, Inspirational Leadership is not in fact a holy grail achieved by the few. It is a style that lies within reach for all leaders who are willing to make the necessary internal shift from a 'command and control' type of engagement, to a more collaborative, and nurturing one.

In essence it lies in our ability to stop, go inward, and reflect on the course of action that you know is the right one rather than succumbing to external pressures and circumstances.

Inspirational leadership does mandate that we not only lead from the heart but also that we make ourselves vulnerable to the scrutiny of others, which is not always easy. However it has been my experience that embracing a heart-centered, inspirational approach to leadership, results in an incredible shift in both personal presence and influence, providing a far more powerful base from which to operate as a leader and an individual.

After all, what can be more powerful than motivating your team to go the distance for you, and your vision as a result of the respect you have inspired in them?

More importantly, this type of leadership style enables you to genuinely and deeply impact the lives of those around you.

So, what does it take to lead with the heart and inspire as a leader?

Inspirational Leaders are driven by the principles of authenticity and integrity resulting in a singular practice that is based on:

  • Honesty - Inspirational Leaders always tell the truth regardless of its popularity.

  • Trust - as you do the right thing, you trust others to do the same.

  • An ability to relinquish control and accept that those around you are as much in control of the outcome as you are - if you are in any doubt about this one try getting anything done without the support of your team.

  • A deep understanding of the impact our words and actions have on others and how they may be interpreted.

  • An attitude of 'service' - as a leader one of your main roles is to serve the people you are leading, rather than the other way around.

  • Being open-minded rather than judgmental, enabling a full understanding of a situation or behaviour.

  • Solid personal foundations - Inspirational Leaders place value in self-care - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

  • The ability to understand and accept your own flaws.

  • A commitment to personal and professional growth for yourself and those around you.

  • Mentorship - offering and accepting mentorship as a key part of your personal moral responsibility.

  • An ability to be empathetic in order to maintain the self-esteem of those around you.

  • Putting value on meaningful dialogue with your colleagues and team. Scheduling regular one on one time means you are able to be present and in the moment of each conversation you have.

  • The belief that with the right support, each member of your team will realise their full potential.

  • An ingrained dedication to involving, promoting, calling upon, and inspiring others to participate in realising the goals before them.

  • A compassion for the self and others.

  • The principles of responsibility rather than blame.

  • An unwavering belief in the positive intentions of those around you, even when it doesn’t always appear to be the case.

  • A commitment to making a difference not just in your own life, but in the lives of those you lead, and the communities you belong to.

  • Listening more, and speaking less.

  • Creating an environment where feedback - both positive and constructive - is the norm.

  • An ability to admit your own vulnerabilities and mistakes.

To learn more about Deidre Dattoli leadership programs please visit

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