How To Be An Inspirational Leader

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.” ― Plato

At some point in all our lives, we’ve had either a great role model and mentor who inspired our growth, or an overbearing authority figure who caused nothing but anxiety and resentment. Which of these would you prefer to be remembered as? Naturally, none of us wants to be associated with negative sentiments - so how does a leader go about creating a relationship legacy to be proud of?

It’s not just about one day being able to boast that we made the lives of others better - it’s the real-time results of our words and actions that matter. A happier workforce is more productive (93% of respondents to a Vantage Leadership ‘Best Boss’ survey said that their individual performance excelled); easier to retain, better for our brand, our customers, and the world at large. As leaders, we have to use whatever power we are privileged to possess to make a positive impact on the lives of all those who rely on us.

Here are five fundamental human characteristics of an inspirational leader:

Kindness
This doesn’t mean being a push-over or ‘weak’. It simply means that in everything you do, in every interaction, you consider the consequences to those in your orbit. Kindness will manifest itself in everything from how fairly you treat your people to your organization’s carbon footprint, in turn positively impacting on perceptions of both you and your brand.    

Respect
This is a two-way street: You can’t demand respect, you have to earn it by showing respect - to everyone you encounter. Never think of anyone as being ‘beneath’ you. If you see everyone in your organization as members of the same team, all performing essential roles, you’ll be less inclined to pass those doing even the most ‘menial’ of tasks without so much as a greeting. Simply put, treat others as you wish to be treated.

Integrity
Striving to do what’s right in all circumstances, not only when you’re being observed, generates tangible trustworthiness that people will sense the moment they meet you. You’ll benefit from increased loyalty from your people, an unimpeachable reputation, the justified trust of stakeholders and customers - and, just as important, self-respect.  

Gratitude
Express your thanks - often the most powerful encouragement you can offer to those around you is this simple act of acknowledgment. Sincere gratitude is more than just good manners; it shapes not only the way other people see you but how you see yourself and the world around you. Thankfulness has been linked to increased happiness, for both the person giving and receiving thanks - the very definition of win-win!   

Consistency
This is key because just one slip can undo years of good work. Providing stability is a crucial trait in a leadership role, and this means being level-headed, dependable, a source of strength, not just now and again but all the time. Our people should not only look forward to being in our company, but they should also want to emulate us so others will feel the same way about them.   

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson