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How to Be an Inspiring Leader

Inspiration alone is not enough

Inspiration alone is not enough

Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the masses but are undermined by ordinary results.

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How to Be an Inspiring Leader

How to Be an Inspiring Leader

https://hbr.org/2017/04/how-to-be-an-inspiring-leader

hbr.org

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Key Ideas

Inspiration alone is not enough

Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the masses but are undermined by ordinary results.

Inspiring leaders

The leaders that inspire are those who use a personal combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions and to hold them accountable for results.

And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not thorough command and control.

Becoming an Inspiring Leader

  • You only need centeredness: a state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathize, listen deeply, and remain present.
  • Your key strength has to match how your organization creates value.
  • You have to behave differently if you want your employees to do so.

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Mindsets in leaders

Mindsets drive what leaders do and why they do it. 

Two different leaders might face the same situation but respond to it very differently. One leader might see the case as threatenin...

Growth and Fixed Mindsets

A growth mindset is a belief that anyone can change their talents, abilities, and intelligence. Those with a growth mindset:

  • take on challenges
  • take advantage of feedback
  • use the most effective problem-solving strategies
  • provide developmental feedback
  • is persistent in accomplishing goals

Conversely, those with a fixed mindset believe that talents, abilities and intelligence can't be improved.

Learning and Performance Mindsets

Leaders with a learning mindset are motivated to increase their competence and master something new.

A performance mindset desires to gain favorable judgments about competence and avoid negative judgements.

2 more ideas

The role of inspiration

It opens us to new possibilities by allowing us to go beyond our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility and transforms the way we perceiv...

Inspiration has 3 core aspects
  • Evocation: it is evoked spontaneously without intention.
  • Transcendence: it involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities.
  • Approach motivation: it pushes us to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision.

Inspiration involves both being inspired by something and acting on that inspiration.

Inspired people

Inspired people report higher levels of important psychological resources, including belief in their own abilities, self-esteem, and optimism.

Mastery of work, absorption, creativity, perceived competence, self-esteem, and optimism are all consequences of inspiration.

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Inspirational does not mean charismatic
Inspirational does not mean charismatic

Being charismatic helps in a small way, for some people in some circumstances, to be perceived as inspiring and motivating.

But there are countless leaders who are...

Approaches to inspiring people

To motivate and inspire performance, a leader must be:

  • Visionary: providing a clear picture of the future and being able to communicate it to the team.
  • Enhancing: creating positive individual relationships along with team relationships.
  • Driver: completing things on time and being accountable for personal and group performance.
  • Principled: being a positive role model of doing the right things in the right way.
  • Enthusiast: being passionate about the organization, its goals and the work itself.
  • Expert: providing a strong technical direction that comes from deep expertise.