The time is always right to do what is right. -Martin Luther King Jr.
How many truly inspiring leaders do you know? People who have contributed to creating waves of change through vision, action and continuous selfless efforts in improving circumstances, people and societies.
What differentiates inspiring leaders different from other people? Are they truly so different from others? Perhaps yes, but most probably not. Anyone can be an inspiring leader – it is a question about willingness and readiness to accept joy, inspiration, and positive thoughts, leading to positive actions, creating a positive environment and seeing how your personal world starts changing, leading to positive changes in your environment as well.
Being positive in a negative situation is not naive. It is leadership. -Ralph Marston
Being, and becoming an inspiring leader is something that you have to work upon every day, until it becomes a habit and a way of life. Everyone, even the most inspiring leaders, has weak moments, which is of course humane. Inspiring leaders know how to cope with feelings of fear and discomfort through acceptance and an ability to transform these lower-frequency energies into higher energy vibrations that lead to positive results.
Inspiring leaders will do what it takes to:
- Continuously develop themselves and their self-knowledge
Inspiring leaders know both their strengths and their weaknesses, and are willing not only to accept these but also capable of admitting that they do have weaknesses. Being conscious and knowing yourself are the basics for continuous personal development. Sometimes personal development is taking two steps forward and one step back, but as long as you keep going you will develop.
2. Empower themselves and people around them
Inspiring leaders know how to empower others, but most importantly – they know how to empower themselves. A leader has to be confident enough to feel and be personally empowered before knowing how to empower others.
The best leaders gain power by giving it away.
3. Embrace failure
Failures are a part of success. The most successful of leaders may have failed a zillion times, but they always get up and continue their work. Failure is a great teacher, and inspiring leaders accept failures as important lessons on their path to greatness and success.
Failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of success.
4. Stay in motion
No matter how slow a process sometimes may seem, or how long it may take to achieve a goal(s), inspirational leaders always stay active and in motion. Even inspiring leaders have moments of lost inspiration, but nevertheless they stay in motion working towards reaching their goals and working towards results, knowing that inspiration will follow them on their journey.
5. Co-operate and partner up with others
Inspiring leaders sometimes work alone, but they also know the importance of cooperation, partnering up with others and investing into teamwork. People are at the core of all action for inspiring leaders because they know that without other people, they would be alone in this world. People make a difference. People are important.
6. Listen more than they speak
Inspiring leaders listen more than they speak. Listening to others demonstrates that you are interested in learning more about what a person has to say, and to offer. Listening to oneself is also important.
When you talk, you only repeat what you already know. If you listen, you may learn something new. -The Dalai Lama
7. Develop their emotional intelligence
Inspiring leaders either are emotionally intelligent, or they want to be. Emotional intelligence is something we can all develop in ourselves, and emotional intelligence can be more important than IQ when it comes to succeeding in life.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. -Aristotle
8. Let others lead and succeed
Inspiring leaders are all about developing and growing leadership around them, and they enjoy seeing other people succeed. They know how to work in a team and understand the importance of shared leadership.
9. See the potential in others
Inspiring leaders see the potential in other individuals and know how to get results together with, and with the help of others. Inspiring leaders know that everyone has his/her unique strengths that are essential in contributing and in creating results.
10. Understand that change is a continuous, universal process
Truly inspiring leaders are willing to live their passion, inspiration, and dreams, passing them on to people around them. Inspiring leaders will always find their way to other people’s hearts.
- Grow throughout life, realizing that inspiring leadership is a life-long journey rather than a short-term trend.
Inspiring leadership brings with it, and creates, long-lasting changes in people and in societies. Being an inspiring leader is about giving more than you expect back, being willing to help others, serving and valuing people around you. Inspiring leadership is authentic, being and expressing who you truly are, caring, daring, and deep. Inspiring leadership does not care about age, gender or other external qualities, but rather focuses upon internal factors that, when correctly channeled, have the capacity of creating and establishing long-term inspiration in the external world.
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. -Nelson Mandela
Author ́s note: I first wrote and published this post on my website and on LinkedIn on August 26th, 2015 (four years ago today). Today, I made some minor adjustments to the post. This post has been one of my most read and shared posts on LinkedIn (316 reshares on LinkedIn), at the time when LinkedIn still featured articles in different categories. This article/post was featured in the Leadership & Management category. Anne-Maria Yritys, August 26th 2019.