How a Leader Inspires Others to Take Action
What does it mean to be a leader? As children we hear the word ‘leadership’ quite often. In high school we are taught to use it in our admissions essays to college; in university we are reminded that it is a trump word and should use it in your resume. But as an adult, it requires a little more to inspire others to take action; in theory, my boss is a leader, my mom is a leader, my captain is a leader. But, are these not just roles we are all fulfilling? Sure, they have credible personality traits or accomplishments, but is there something else that goes into motivating others to act?
People are rarely born as leaders. They learn or exhibit specific personality traits that have them stand out from the crowd, and inspire others to take action towards a worthy cause. If you’re hoping to inspire a following, then maybe it’s time to adopt the following traits as your own.
To inspire others to work with you and be part of your vision, there needs to be effective communication. We can’t all work together if we don’t understand our end goal. To convince people to collaborate for you requires a vision and a relationship of openness. Criticism, both positive and negative, can be hard to give and receive, and is a poor form of communication at best. A relationship that is open and receptive on both ends is far more inspiring for people. A good leader reaches out and makes it known that you and your participation are appreciated. We’re all more inclined to act upon requests made to us if we feel comfortable in our role. Effective communication is the cornerstone to making this happen.
Respect is something that isn’t immediate. Respect is earned, and usually given to someone that’s deserving of it. In most situations, professional or social, it takes time to understand your peers. You won’t always get to see their strengths or weakness; and more often than not, circumstance may create barriers that keep us from truly getting to know someone. A leader who immediately flaunts their position or makes you feel inferior doesn’t promote respect. What’s required is a leader who is willing to teach and help where they can, and give compliments when a job is done well. Quite often, this results in a desire to do more than was originally required. The “nice guy finishes last” is not a phrase applied to a good leader; on the contrary, we are inspired by those who show us that things can be done with morals and principles. That’s the sign of an inspirational leader.
Consider a person who stays until a job is complete, even if they know they’re not going to be compensated. Or someone that insists on practicing an instrument or going to the gym because they believe that the result will be worth all the hard work. We’re all more likely to be inspired to follow the example of someone who is demonstrating perseverance than someone that cuts corners or shows a lack of determination. Thus, a leader who inspires will be a person with persistence and perseverance, not the slacker who lingers into the background whenever times get tough.
Positive energy is infectious. It’s a well known saying that: “we are the average of the five closest people we spend our time with”. Inspirational leaders hang out with passionate people who are equally an inspiration to them. The best chefs, artists, writers, entrepreneurs – all of these “leaders” in their field got there because they were energetic and passionate about their projects. They worked towards excellence, and through diligence and perseverance, they came out the other side a top player in the game of life.
Creative minds find new and exciting ways to revamp old ideas. We can all say, ‘it’s been done before’, but inventiveness creates a new vibe or buzz that is magnetic. We are all drawn to something we haven’t done before, and a leader capitalizes on this notion, bringing people into their ideas. A truly inspirational leader will go a step further, and allow their team-mates room to grow and contribute their own ideas as well. A leader who micromanages and makes effort to maintain a position on their “throne of leadership” is rarely an inspirational leader. A true leader recognizes that their teammates want to succeed as much as they do, and that any contributing ideas are naturally geared towards success rather than a challenge of authority.
To become a successful leader, you need to show them that you’ve got what it takes to confidently and humbly exhibit personality traits that inspire others to take action. Everyone has leadership potential within; it’s a matter of developing your personality in the key areas listed, and putting them in practice every day. Remember, the most powerful way to become a leader who inspires is by being the greatness you want to see in others.