Leadership skill: Inspiring


What makes a great leader? There are a lot of different ingredients to recipes that makes a great leader. As with making food, there is thousands of ways to cook the same dish. Today I want to focus on one single skill, the ability to inspire others.

Define: Inspire

There is a few definitions of Inspire according to thefreedictionary.com:

– To stimulate to action; motivate: a sales force that was inspired by the prospect of a bonus.

– To affect or touch: The falling leaves inspired her with sadness.

– To stimulate energies, ideals, or reverence: a leader who inspires by example.

– To stimulate (a person) to activity or creativity

I really like these definitions, it kind of gives you the small hints on how to be an inspiring leader, but as you have probably figured out there are different grades here from giving out a bonus to affect or touch. This brings me to the core of my post; what can you do to be inspiring?

How to inspire?

Do you want to differ from the boss that gives out prices and bonuses, and be able to affect or touch the soul of other people around you?  I do not believe in rewarding excellence with bonuses or prices. I do believe that people are truly able to produce excellence by will, and that is what a great leader needs to preach. If you want great employees you will need to teach them how to be great. And you need to show them the joy of achieving excellent results. You need to be a storyteller, to show them the future self. And you need to dare to be different. Do not be afraid to do crazy stuff like to sing, act, play or dress up. If you dare to push yourself your employees will dare to push themselves as well. You need to get them to believe that they can. Speak in a figuratively manner, have visions and goals that they will identify with.

It is very hard to give a clear answer on how to be inspiring; there is no single good answer to this. But there is a Chinese proverb that goes:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

This is what you as a leader need to do, teach them to fish.

Spiro – Breathe – Breath of life

Inspire, comes from the Latin word Spiro meaning “breathe” or “breath of life” So it should be quite easy to be inspiring? I really like the meaning “breath of life” – To be an inspiring leader you should be able to enjoy the breath of life, according to me this is the ability to enjoy life to the fully, to be able to be true to your values and be a whole person. If you have the “breath of life” your life will most likely be in an excellent balance.

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