When it comes to executing a corporate strategy, the role of a leader extends beyond the task of communicating its key points; a strong leader should inspire and motivate the team. A staff that is both inspired and well informed about their role(s) in implementing their company’s strategic goals will be more productive, more engaged and thus, perform at a higher level.
When Scott Edinger, expert leadership speaker and co-author of The Inspiring Leader, joined Shawn Ellis, founder of The Speakers Group on The Better Life/Better Business Podcast, he identified three key ways to inspire your people–even when you are exhausted:
1. Do little things, consistently.
Some leaders inspire through keynote speeches or charismatic presentations. Some leaders say, “I’m exhausted. I’m inspiring my tail off out here.” However, you need not take a flashy approach.
According to Edinger, the behaviors that teams find most inspiring and that have the greatest impact on leadership are often “little things done frequently, multiple times a day and [over] many interactions.”
These ‘little things’ might include “linking activities in the organization and initiatives to the bigger picture and helping people understand how their work is more than just doing an activity [or] fulfilling a task; it is part of the achievement of something greater.”
2. Be yourself.
There is no single approach to inspiring, results-driven leadership. In fact, an article in Forbes magazine describes authentic leaders as “self-actualized individuals who are aware of their strengths, their limitations, and their emotions.”
Being a great leader and inspiring your team does not necessarily mean you must be highly extroverted and a charismatic public speaker. For Edinger, “what’s inspiring is… when you allow your leadership style to be seen and you can be yourself with people… that’s a very freeing kind of feeling”.
In Edinger’s contribution to the ASTD Leadership Handbook, he and the other contributors highlight the multiple ways to inspire as a leader, regardless of your underlying personality or leadership style.
3. Show people you care.
Inspirational leaders are emotionally intelligent, they connect better with their subordinates, and they are better at establishing and articulating a clear vision. These are among the themes explored by Edinger in his books.
He explains that, while people might (mistakenly) associate emotional connection with excessively dramatic behavior, it is actually about treating the people in your organization as people, rather than as “tasks or jobs or outputs.”
In conversations with companies for whom he has consulted, Edinger noticed that those who are inspired by their leader typically feel that this leader took a personal interest in them. He pays close attention to these types of statements, because feeling valued produces hard results:
“When people are inspired and engaged, they produce more profit, more revenue, greater innovations.”
Another way in which leaders might demonstrate their care for their team, says Edinger, is through “taking a very clear interest in developing someone’s talent… [since] one of the main things that people want want from… their employers is to develop their talents and skill sets.”
This could take the form of personal mentorship or investing in professional development opportunities for your staff. According to the Fortune Magazine-AON Hewitt list, companies who have top leadership programs spend almost 35% more per manager on development than others.
As a leadership coach and speaker, Scott Edinger is well aware of the many different aspects to positive, inspiring leadership. At the end of the day, it’s the little things that matter the most.
If you’d like more help from Scott, you can hire him to speak at your next meeting or conference. Watch a demo video and review his available programs at www.thespeakersgroup.com/speakers/scott-edinger.