At one point, we considered this motto for our company: “Inspired people take inspired actions and produce inspired results.” It’s a little long, maybe, for a motto, but the message is in there: Inspiration matters. A lot.
That may be especially true for leadership because, in most organizations, leaders are the font of inspiration. Leaders keep people calm and project confidence about the future, no matter the business conditions. In that way, leaders are like flight attendants on a bumpy flight. If the flight attendants don’t seem worried, passengers feel comforted and confident that the journey will be safe.
We encourage the leaders we work with to convey that same kind of confidence and optimism about the future. We think organizations run best when leaders share their optimism and when they hold themselves personally accountable for being and staying inspired.
Leaders have to be walking examples. They have to have an ambition that is contagious, one that inspires the people around them. To accomplish that, we tell leaders to begin by inspiring the person they see in the mirror every day.
Leaders should ask themselves these questions, and if the answers are not positive, they should seek change:
- Do the ambitions of your organization inspire you?
- Do the actions of your organization inspire you?
- Have you done anything lately that personally inspired you?
To share inspiration, we also think leaders should:
- Keep talking about what tomorrow is going to look like in the organization. The goals. The vision. What’s in the future for customers, for employees? When people have a clear sense of where they are going, it is easier for them to be inspired.
- Show people they have a way to contribute to the organization and that their opinions about the future are valued. When your people know that their input is valued, they’ll be more inspired to be creative with that input and to offer it regularly.
The bottom line here: Inspiration has to be shared to be effective. Leaders have to demonstrate it daily, moment by moment. Now, sit back, relax, and share your inspiration.