A True Inspirational Leader has many traits that contribute to who they are and why they inspire others. I have decided to pick the 3 best traits I feel Inspirational Leaders possess, which all leaders need to master (in my opinion).
They Practice Active Listening
Many have said “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Listening is essential to let others know you care. You may have had a similar experience to one of mine – you are with your leader and they are looking at their email on a computer or on their phone, taking calls and frankly can’t sit still. There is nothing more deflating or demotivating than a leader that does not actively listen to you. If you are a leader that needs to up-level their listening skill, follow these simple rules: 1. Schedule the session at a time & place that minimizes disruption and for the length of time that will meet everyone’s needs. 2. Put the phone on mute or “do not disturb”. 3. If you must use a computer during a session with a direct report, close out all the unessential browsers and absolutely close the email so there are no notifications. If your leader is the culprit help them by making suggestions for the best options to follow rule #1 and lead by example – show them you are putting your phone on mute - and make it a point to prepare ahead of time so that you can use the time together most effectively.
They Develop their Team
Peter Drucker said, “The key to greatness is to look for people’s potential and spend time developing it.” A leader that takes the time to develop and groom their team-members is highly inspirational because they are helping them lean into their personal development and grow to reach their potential. Giving a team-member an opportunity to learn a new skill, attend internal or external training, participate in job-shadowing & work on a special project are all ways that develop them. What are your needs? Who on your team can you invest in so that they can provide the solution? If you have been practicing active listening, you may already know who on your team wants to grow. This is when you, as the leader, must be OK with providing your team-member with an opportunity that may get them promoted up and off your team. Your commitment to regularly provide development opportunities creates life-long benefits for your team-members. No matter your current role – leader or team-member – if you desire to grow – you just need to show initiative and Raise YOUR Hand. Organizations in general budget money for employee development – don’t let those dollars go unused for your team or yourself.
They Have Faith in their Team
Thinking of the last project or assignment you received at work – what was the level of inspection or follow-up your leader performed? Was it the courtesy check-in to make sure that you understood their expectation, or did they go overboard and basically redo your work? So many times, leaders struggle with letting go and having faith. One of the most courageous things we can do as leaders is TRUST another to deliver what is needed. When we Trust, we demonstrate that we have Faith in their abilities. Simon Sinek has said “Confidence in Leadership is the confidence to trust others”. If you have practiced active listening and developed your team-members, your confidence as a leader should be firm and you’ll experience less fear when you take the training wheels off. They have the skill – let them show you they know how to use it. Yes – sometimes things go wrong. That’s why you don’t give them the entire goal or make it all rest on them the first time or few. Get ready for the pep-talk that may need to happen if they skin their knee. The best leaders see their team through the bumps by inspiring them to get back on and try, try again.
If you are interested in knowing more about what Inspirational Leaders do well listen to this bonus replay of a web event I did last fall: The Secrets of An Inspirational Leader.
As always, you can schedule a free strategy session to discuss a leadership challenge you are facing. Schedule it today.