What is inspirational leadership?
Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi. These are all examples of inspired leadership.
But what is inspirational leadership, and how can we learn some of these traits ourselves?
Inspirational leadership comes down to two key points. One, having a strong vision that you’ll stop at nothing to make a reality, and two, inspiring others to come along that journey.
How to be an inspiring leader
Inspired leadership is very personal and can come in many forms. How to be an inspiring leader will depend on your unique situation, but the following are some key factors that will help you to embody more inspirational leadership.
Set a positive example
As a leader, people will do as you do, not just as you say.
If you’re leading a team of people then you’re setting the tone for what is expected from others. For example, when the leader in a team is calm and level-headed, the team will be the same. It’s one thing to tell your team to have a positive work-life balance and look after their mental health, but if they see you working 24/7 and driving yourself into burnout they’re more likely to do the same.
Teach, don’t terrify
When you look back at the people who have inspired you most in your life, it is often from the people who taught you the most. The best learning environment is the one where you feel safe to make mistakes, comfortable asking questions, and empowered to try out your learnings.
When somebody leads with fear, people struggle to learn new things, take in information and step outside of their comfort zone.
Key skills for inspired leadership
I believe anybody can learn how to be an inspiring leader, but it will not happen overnight. Some people naturally possess more leadership qualities, but everything can be taught with the right mindset and self-belief.
- Listening. You cannot be a strong leader without learning how to actively listen and make your team feel heard.
- Optimism. Great leaders make people feel like anything is possible, mainly because they believe it so strongly themselves.
- Public speaking. You need to be confident sharing your ideas with the group and being the center of attention sometimes. Great leaders do not hide behind the crowd.
- Persuasive speaking. A leader needs to be able to convince others of their ideas and confidently get their points across while making others believe in their vision.
- Passion. There is nothing more inspiring than pure passion, and this rubs off on other people. When you feel strongly about your cause you can spark that passion in others.