What is it that people who lead by inspiration do so differently to those who lead through position? It might just be that those who inspire do so by ‘being’ who they are. That is, their message and beliefs create a connection between humans.
I was pondering the other day on those leaders we have seen in more modern times that are singled out time and again as being the most inspiring or enlightened in some way. People like Nelson Mandela, Dr Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama to name just three and I am sure you can think of your own 3 or 4 people that you consider are inspiring leaders. Those people who lead by inspiring others, as against those people who might have the power to be a leader. Organisations are teeming with managers and senior executives, leaders, and they do it through using the power of their current position more than by inspiring their teams and positively influencing others to achieve what they, the leaders, want. This is not how those inspirational leaders operate. The key factor it seems to me is those who lead, inspire others by engaging people emotionally. If you agree with this then we can consider it in the same way we might consider a sales process – you know, features, advantages, benefits etc. But the benefits in this case is the big “WHY” – or put another way, what is it that leaders believe passionately about that explains their purpose or reason for existence. I work with leaders on a daily basis. Once a leader is clear about their purpose, why they exist, and what is so important about that to them, then they unleash their passion and inspiration on others who also ‘feel’ the purpose of following this person. So instead of thinking in terms of the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ of what you are doing as a leader, try it inside out – try communicating your big “WHY” – followed by the How and the What. Simon Sinek has this simple model – Why, how, what – in that order. Check out this video to hear him talk about this more.
Think about how you market your business. What is your default thinking? Is it ‘what’ you do, or ‘how’ you do it? If it is, how successful is that approach for you (however you measure your success) Think for a moment on the ‘why’ you do what you do. Can you answer that? If you can, then you might have noticed a different internal response to the ‘why’ vs the what or the how. Can you answer your ‘why’? This I think belongs in those ‘BIG’ question categories. It’s along the lines of ‘what gives your life meaning’ – can you answer that? A step by step process to start to answer this could look something like this.
1. Clarify what your personal values are
2. Clarify what gives your life meaning
3. Clarify what gives you pleasure and what you are great at.
4. Can you now see more about why you do what you do?
Try it and notice how it unleashes in you a high energy motivational charge that attracts to you what you are looking for. Try ‘inside out’ thinking!