It’s far from rarely that we as humans revel in our admiration of historical figures who have contributed to effecting major change and who, in doing so, have shaped the world through their actions. Their innate gift for leadership, unwavering wills and seemingly inexhaustible reserves of energy have become skills coveted by today’s leaders, and rightfully so: promoting major change has recurrently proven itself to be an exhausting task. However, history has tended to gloss over those who stood beside these figures, without whom such changes would probably never have been achieved. After all, it stands to reason that a single person is incapable of changing the world, but that person is able to convince the world that it needs a change. This is why today’s leadership needs to consider those around them if they seek to bring forth real change. In other words, leaders need to do more than just ‘lead’: they need to inspire change in others.
Here are some tips for leaders to engage their environment in an inspirational way:
Instilling a need to effect change into those who work alongside you to better prepare them to lead into a new tomorrow. A great leader makes leaders of those who work around her/him. This is better accomplished by actively talking to people, by reaching out to them. Inspiring is equal parts being a leader and being a mentor; a disruptor, which leads to the second point.
Nobody is born a great leader; people become them under the right, pressing circumstances. It is easy to follow others, but hard to get in charge of one’s own decisions. People often hold the key to great potential; they just need to get out of their comfort zone to become aware of their own capabilities. True leaders challenge people to think outside the box; they disrupt their normality by showing them how it’s done.
Show the results
As the old adage goes, ‘show, don’t tell’. True leaders are treated as such because they have cemented their reputation on palpable success; their previous accomplishments are a true testament to their skills. That’s why the most reliable way of inspiring others is to do what they do best; getting the job done.
Great leaders pride themselves on their ability to spot greatness: in order to incentivise people to attain their inner potential, it is crucial that they first surround themselves with the right people. It’s all about identifying the prospective movers of tomorrow. In layman’s terms, ‘You reap what you sow’; so make sure to pick those qualities you want to see given back to the world.
As stated before, choosing the right people to surround oneself with ought to be a leader’s most valuable trait. However, it is equally important that people actually WANT to be around them. Proving a reliable support and advisor for those who look up to you is the best way to guarantee their loyalty, admiration and attention. Be supportive, and take active steps to understand their perspectives. The time you have invested in them will certainly prove to be an exceptional learning opportunity for both sides, all the while creating bridges of mutual empathy, respect and trust, which will certainly remain with them once you’ve finally parted ways.
A major component of being present in your employees’ lives involves not only your physical presence but also understanding and empathising with them. Great leaders are aware that decision-making is not an upside-down process; rather information has to circulate in both directions. Effective leadership demands being willing to hear out those who work for you, and to take their proposals into consideration.
Being an advisor is just one facet of leadership. Leaders also need to be the rock upon which their employees rely when things go south. Resilience in the face of adversity has to be cultivated. Being able to remain at the helm of matters in the midst of the storm is a perfect showcase of character and fortitude and will reassure those under your care that they matter – a trait that surely will be passed on to the next generation of leaders.
Success, like the greatest things in life, tastes better when shared. Make sure to let your employees know when they have done a good job: your sincere recognition will undoubtedly be welcomed. Likewise, if you need them to improve in a certain area, always bear a constructive approach in mind. Consider that, rather than correcting their ways, you are contributing to the development of their skills, just like someone once did to yours.
These eight tips will help you become the inspirational role model that encourages people to change the world, and, in doing so, will help you change the world yourself!