In my professional career I’ve worked for six separate companies. Two were corporate structures while the remainder were privately owned entities. Half were small, under 100 employees, while the largest was a national retail enterprise. I can safely say that the managers I worked with were NOT hired for their inspirational leadership qualities. In fact, I believe most of these leaders were in position of authority for reasons of attrition, adaptability, competitiveness, connections, initiative, meeting standards, status seeking, or work ethic. Placement of managers for the purpose of inspiring workers was simply not the top priority.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams
Inspirational leadership qualities are not an accident
A person’s characteristics define who they are. Importantly, their individual status as a leader, a follower, an educator, a coach, or a facilitator are outlined in the features of their personality. More than the work their company does, a true leader possesses traits that influence their ability to lead. Further, their actions and the integrity of their intent inspire others to follow. This push-pull of complementary energies is the essence that comprises inspirational leadership qualities. Further, a leader is best acknowledged when people barely know they exist. Therefore, when the work is done, team members say, “We did it ourselves.” For business owners, hiring an inspirational leader can be accomplished by assessing their personality traits and giving them the tools to succeed.
Hiring an inspirational leader
It's hard to accurately determine the cause and effect of business success. Like the chicken/egg conundrum, the success of a business has roots in its product, economic environment, its market strategy, fortunate timing, and many other factors. However, a company's leadership and its people contribute greatly to its longevity and its ability to thrive through assorted hardships. Inspirational leadership qualities have much to do with the doggedness of organizations that have survived time and turmoil. Therefore, determining the best candidates to lead your business is crucial. Inspirational business leaders must have the passion to persevere through internal and external strife and inspire others to follow their lead. Importantly, leaders must nurture and enhance the growth and development of their people.
The essential qualities of a great leader
Newsweek’s expert forum addressed this topic through their panel of 14 influential business leaders, with each contributing their insights on the subject. The panelists provided a wealth of opinions yielding a list of traits that set great leaders apart from others. After reviewing the list, I grouped a few of their insights for your review.
Create a safe space for team members
Collaborative environments that are safe, accepting and productive make team members feel valued. Leaders accomplish this by considering the perspective of others and listening intently. Further, they build trust by being authentic in their approach. For example, when they explain their thought process about decisions made, they gain favor and trust. Moreover, this ability to connect shows the alignment of their priorities and how all associates can unite to move forward.
Integrity, objectivity and self-awareness
People look to their leaders not only for direction, but also for predictable fairness. Unquestioned integrity of leadership allows workers to proceed on a productive path without hesitation. Likewise, leaders who are self-aware can divorce themselves from their emotions, maintain boundaries and successfully execute and communicate.
Adopt a learning mindset
Being curious and learning from those around you is one of the most powerful inspirational leadership qualities. Combined with the discipline that it takes to put this knowledge into action can be a formidable advantage in today’s rough and tumble business environment.
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