Most of my clients look terrified when we talk about how they inspire others. It’s like the very word has magical powers to which they personally can’t relate. “Being inspiring is what other people do”, those endowed with another scary attribute, charisma. Usually loudly. Of course, they don’t say this to me. I can tell by the tell-tale gulp or uneasy shuffle in their seat.
There are degrees of being inspiring from the nation-moving of a Mandela to the everyday shift in a school kid in the classroom. I believe we all have the capacity to inspire. The challenge is to know what that means for each of us, recognizing what works and doing it well through practice. It can become a daily habit. Think what your workplace would feel like then?
Here are 5 ways anyone can lead and inspire other people:
1. Clear purpose
None of us really knows what will happen in the future, but we can decide why we do something and our direction of travel. Clarity of purpose breeds confidence in those around you and confidence in you. People are inspired to act if that purpose has significant emotional value for them. Show positive intent.
2. Clear communication
We get inspired when we connect emotionally. This can be to a product, service or idea. The best leaders do that through compelling stories that resonate with us – often compelling because they are personal, so tell a story from personal experience. We can all tell a story.
3. Building up others
There are times when stepping out of the way is the right thing to do. Leading from behind shows you trust other people. You show humility when you genuinely listen to the voices of challenge. Recognise and acknowledge what others bring that you don’t.
4. Practicing what you preach
Be congruent and aligned between what you say and what you do. Get your hands dirty alongside people on occasions. Muck in. Instil a sense of being ‘one of us’, not distant and disconnected.
5. Trusted and trusting
We trust people when we think they are good at what they do and they have integrity. You can’t have one without the other. Having faith in other people as a default builds rapport quickly and people will warm to you more quickly. Build your trust credit.
“Do something every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt
About David Shindler
Author of Learning to Leap, a Guide to Being More Employable and co-author of 21st Century Internships: how to get a job before graduation. An experienced personal and professional development coach and consultant, David helps individuals, teams and organizations build the people skills and mindsets they need now and for the future. He runs the Employability Hub (free resources for students and graduates).
Follow David Shindler on Twitter: @David_Shindler