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How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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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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

3

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 drive what leaders do and why they do it. 

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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
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  • provide developmental feedback
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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.

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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.
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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“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is gu..."

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Millennials expect to be developed via opportunities, mentoring, and stretch assignments. However that is hard to come by in top-heavy companies. 

Most millennials think their roles provide little development while most companies report they have excellent or adequate programs for Millennials.

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Leo Tolstoy

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy
About change

Organizations don’t change. People change. Many companies move to change systems and structures and create new policies and processes but fail to address the underlying mind-sets and capabilities of the people who will execute it.

A new strategy will fall short of its potential if they fail to address the mental attitude because people on the ground tend to continue to behave as they did before.

Looking both ways

Companies that only look outward in the process of organizational change, and dismiss individual learning and adaptation make two common mistakes:

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Servant leader's attitude

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Community Involvement

The servant leader concept emphasizes the importance of working for the benefit of the community at large.

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Overlooking context

Many training initiatives assume that the same group of skills or leadership styles are suitable without considering the strategy or organizational culture of a company.

An excellent leader in one situation does not necessarily perform well in another. Focusing on context means equipping leaders with two or three competencies that will make a distinction to performance, rather than a list of leadership standards that is of no specific benefit.

Separate reflection from real work

Companies face a challenge when it comes to planning the program's curriculum.  Adults typically retain only 10 percent of what they hear in classroom lectures, but nearly two-thirds when they learn by doing. 

The answer seems straightforward: tie leadership development to real on-the-job projects. While it is not easy to create opportunities that simultaneously address high-priority needs, companies should strive to make every major business project a leadership-development opportunity as well.

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The process of inspiring others
The process of inspiring others

Inspiring others comes more from how you act in your day to day life than from some extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Think about your daily habits, and how those...

Daily habits of inspirational people
  • Focus on the process, not the outcome: feel inspired by the work you do and by everything that is required to achieve results.
  • pay attention to your impact, to how you make others feel and then make sure it's the kind of impact you want to be having.
  • Push your comfort zone. Those surrounding you will feel inspired and they will most likely follow suit.
  • Focus on your well-being. If you feel good, you will naturally inspire others.
  • Commit to a vision and never give up. When others know what motivates you and your commitment to what's important to you, they will feel inspired.
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According to a decade long research, the health of an organization is based on alignment with a robust strategy, deep-rooted culture, and a clarity of vision.

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Better Health = Better Performance

Extensive Data studies have found a link between the health of an organization and its performance.

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The Four Organizational Recipes

Companies aligned with one of these four organizational recipes are more likely to be healthy and to deliver strong, sustained performance than those following random management styles:

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Curiosity leads us to generate alternatives
Curiosity leads us to generate alternatives

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Curiosity and innovation

Encouraging people to be curious generates workplace improvements.

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Reduced group conflict

Curiosity encourages members of a group to put themselves in one another’s shoes and take an interest in one another’s ideas rather than focus only on their own perspective.

Thus, conflicts are less heated, and groups achieve better results.

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