On of my favorite quotes, is “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more; you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams The question is, how to inspire? What can leaders do to bring out the best in others?
Recently I read an article by Stephanie Vozza who sited a study done by DDI and Harris Interactive which found that 98% of employees who had good leaders were motivated to do their best, while only 11% of employees with ineffective leaders felt motivated to give their best. The report goes on to say that the ability to inspire and bring out the best in others is a skill that involves just 10% natural inclination while the other 90% has to be deliberate, practiced, reinforced and used day to day. Great leaders inspire as they:
1. Focus On People's Strengths – Doing this implies that the leader must get to know the people they work with, build relationships and cultivate and optimize their talents and capabilities.
2. Empathize – Simply put, a great leader LISTENS and puts themselves in the shoes of the team working together to solve the burning issues.
3. Give Recognition – Giving recognition publically and privately is an important ingredient which is often neglected. According to research, one to two thirds of leaders are not good at acknowledging good work, as leaders often worry that praise somehow seems unprofessional or that employees will be complacent or overconfident. Yet research shows time and again the importance of a pat on the back and a “job well done” by the boss providing huge dividends.
4. Great Leaders Connect The Right People - Liz Wiseman, author of Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work, calls leaders who bring out the best in others "multipliers." She says multipliers look for talent everywhere and focus on finding people, at whatever level, who know the things they don’t. "Multipliers take the time to understand the capabilities of each individual so that they can connect employees with the right people and the right opportunities—thereby building a virtuous cycle of attraction, growth, and opportunity," she writes in an article for Harvard Business Review.
5. They DON’T Micromanage – This is easier said than done, but one of the keys to inspiring those around us to learn and grow. Will the team make mistakes along the way? CERTAINLY, but ask yourself…when is it you learned the most; from your successes or from your mistakes?
6. Finally, Great Leaders Create Safe Environments – They give permission for people to speak freely, to think out loud, and to act with reason and respect.
In the final analysis, great leadership doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by design. So the question my friends is what are you DOING to provide great leadership for your team?
Be good to yourself…