Why We Need More Leaders to Inspire Us

Are you feeling inspired?

Who do you look up to, to make you want to get out and achieve your goals, to do better and get the results you want?

While well-known celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk or Chris Froome may come to mind, it might also be a particular teacher from your time at school or even your boss.

Great leaders inspire others to achieve their full potential.

Which is why the leader who is visible, accessible and demonstrates their commitment to developing their people is the leader who wins at business.

Feeling inspired feels great; it’s energizing and highly motivating. Inspiration allows you to bounce out of bed in the morning excited about what the day may bring. Working with or for an inspiring leader develops trust, loyalty and confidence.

7 things that lead to greater inspiration include

  • Having a clear vision of your goals
  • Clarity and understanding of what’s required to achieve those goals
  • Conviction in your beliefs.
  • Tenacity, that willingness to stand firm in the face of adversity
  • Enthusiasm
  • A positive mood that elevates confidence and performance
  • The autonomy to do the work

Inspiration is great, but pairing it with engagement is even better.

In their book “Time, Talent and Energy”, Garton and Mankins believe that while leaders need all three, it is their level of energy and engagement that matters the most.

“Engaged staff are 44% more productive than satisfied staff, but inspired staff are 125% more productive than satisfied staff.”

So what do we mean by engaged? In this context, it’s about the level of interest we have in our work and the motivation to complete it. As John Medina reminds us “the brain does not pay attention to boring things.” Without attention or engagement we lack the focus to learn, the desire to improve or the insights to innovate.

While you may have the smarts to do the work, your level of motivation is very much influenced by your working environment and especially by who is in charge.

Research by Gallup revealed up to 20% of workers who are actively disengaged report their work and boss demotivating. If the boss doesn’t appear to care, it’s extremely hard to keep yourself motivated for any length of time. The leader sets the tone and you can sense it as soon as you walk in through the front door. Emotional contagion can cost a business dearly especially if the emotion is predominantly negative, and the stronger the intensity, the greater the impact.

How satisfied we are, is about the perks of the job. This is about how satisfied we are with our pay, leave entitlements, and those little extras such as discounted gym membership, free parking or fresh fruit provided daily. While being satisfied is important to staying in the job, in itself it doesn’t lead to better performance. Also once established, woe betide anyone trying to take those perks away as we are highly loss aversive!

A high-performance workplace combines engagement and inspiration to elevate energy, and is enhanced by work that

You are passionate about.

That provides meaning and a sense of purpose.

Reflects the quality of work relationships, especially that between an employee and a manager.

Both engagement and inspiration foster towards a state where the reward of feeling connected, valued and supported leads to greater trust, collaboration and contribution.

If your workplace is a little “meh”, what would it take to engender a little more inspiration?

Do you actively seek out to work with those who do inspire you to be your best?

What is it that you bring to the workplace that inspires others?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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