It seems that everyone is talking about leadership and I don’t believe our heightened awareness is only due to the shenanigans that have been going on south of the border during the latest presidential election cycle. Did you know that if you go to Amazon and search on leadership, it returns over 250,000 items?
The evolution of leadership style.
It appears that leadership has become a technical skill. Scan the bookshelf and you’ll see titles like:
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
- Leadership: the Top 100 Ways to be a Great Leader
- Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose
The demand for knowledge about leadership is based on the collective awareness that command and control leadership styles have long lost their effectiveness. Instead leaders have been moving into a motivational model of leadership.
Motivational Leadership – a losing proposition?
So, let’s take a closer look at motivation. The definition of motivation is to motivate, induce, initiate, and influence. It’s a self-based system intended to get another to behave as we wish. It’s about lighting a fire underneath our people.
Motivational metaphors are pervasive in the workplace and perhaps the three most popular themes are around war, sports, or Darwinian in nature. How many times have you heard these phrases?
- It’s a battleground out there and it’s time to launch our new campaign
- That was a knock-out month, way to hit the competition
- It’s a jungle out there and only the strongest will survive
Have you noticed that these metaphors are all about win lose? If we win, someone else loses. I’d like to suggest that it’s time to evolve to the next level, to inspirational leadership
The word inspire comes from the Latin “spirare”, meaning spirit, to affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence; to fill with enlivening or exalting emotions, to animate, to breathe into. When we inspire it’s an act of service, it’s about giving to the other person. In this case it’s about lighting the fire from within.
Evolving from a motivational leader to an inspirational leader is about becoming a conscious leader. According to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, conscious leaders create a shared purpose, they reveal the meaning in each person’s job, they don’t fix people – they help them grow, and they create win-win strategies.
As you reflect on your current leadership style, and where you stack up on the continuum from command and control to motivational to inspirational, consider these words from Deepak Chopra. “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”
7 Steps to Inspire
Bestselling author Carmine Gallo has been studying leadership and in particular inspirational leadership. Take a minute and ask yourself how often you accomplish the following 7 items of his INSPIRE framework:
- Ignite your enthusiasm. Inspiring leaders are inspired themselves.
- Navigate the way. Inspiring leaders articulate a vision that is bold, clear, concise and consistently communicated.
- Sell the Benefit. Inspiring leaders answer the one question that everyone has on their mind-what’s in it for me?
- Paint a picture. Inspiring leaders paint a picture of a world made better by their service, product, company, or cause.
- Invite participation. Inspiring leaders go beyond “listening.” They invite employees into the process of growing the company.
- Reinforce optimism. Inspiring leaders are more optimistic than the average person.
- Encourage potential. Inspiring leaders encourage people to be their best selves.
Reflecting on your interactions over the last week, were you inspired with your work? Were you optimistic and encouraging? Did you publicly paint a bold and colorful picture with your employees as the heroes?
Choose an area to focus on this week and stretch your inspirational muscles. You and your organization have great potential and there’s no better time to light it up than right now!