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Inspirational Leadership: Importance & Characteristics

Andrew Langat
July 18, 2023
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"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, feel inspired, do more, and become more, you are a great leader indeed." – President John Quincy Adams.

Inspirational Leadership is an essential leadership style that can make a lasting impact. Good leaders come in several forms; however, inspiring leaders uniquely foster positive change in individual team members and the whole organization. They act as the true north on which a company relies.

When well applied, Inspiration leadership in the workplace leads to other inspired employees this creates positive change that can be leveraged in performance.

Despite this, a Gallup poll revealed that only 22% of employees agree that their leaders have a clear vision for the organization. This means they don't get inspiring leadership.

Most of us aspire to work under an inspiring leader who motivates us to do our best and supports us during challenging times. Lately, I've observed various job postings and descriptions emphasizing the importance of having inspiring leadership qualities.

This article will delve into the significance of inspiring Leadership, the characteristics of inspirational leaders, and practical strategies to become one.

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What is Inspirational Leadership?

Inspirational Leadership is about leading, cultivating, and empowering individuals to unleash their full potential by constantly motivating and pushing them to improve.

Great and inspiring leaders can recognize the inherent greatness in others, even when they cannot see it themselves. An Inspirational Leader can help individuals achieve incredible feats and reach monumental goals by highlighting their strengths and providing expert guidance to enhance their qualities.

Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King inspired people in all works of life, and their ideals of leadership were shared throughout generations. Their leadership skills were so impressive that many people tried to emulate their models.

Other examples of inspiring leaders in the workplace include Richard Branson, Indra Nooyi, and Jeff Bezos.

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Why is Inspirational Leadership Important?

Inspiration is a Key Leadership trait needed for any company or organization's success. A Good leader inspires others to develop a passion for work ethic and helps them along the way to accomplish goals set.

Here is some importance of inspirational Leadership:

Enhances employee engagement.

Leaders who inspire others provide a distinct and meaningful purpose to their Team and motivate employees, which enables each individual to feel a far greater impact and sense of worth in their work. By practicing this leadership style, you can enhance the engagement and involvement of Employees.

When employees feel connected and confident in their leaders and company direction, it boosts morale and productivity in the workplace.

Facilities goal achievement.

Inspiring leaders are crucial for teams to achieve and exceed goals by aligning efforts with shared core values and motivating high aspirations.

When a leader is inspirational, team members can go above and beyond the call of duty in ensuring that they deliver the best. For example, Steve Jobs was able to clearly articulate the company's vision and inspire its employees to deliver the best possible products in their niche.

Promotes employee commitment.

Observing a leader who exhibits a robust work ethic can positively influence employees to strive for the same level of dedication. Working alongside individuals who inspire them is a source of enjoyment for employees, and a skilled and inspiring manager can be a significant factor in their commitment to a company.

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8 Characteristics of an Inspirational Leader.

Only 10% of people are natural leaders — another 20% show some qualities of basic managerial talent that can be cultivated into high-quality leadership - zippia

Inspirational leaders possess some traits that set them apart from other leaders. These traits make them outstanding, and here are some of them:

1. Effective communication.

Influential leaders possess a clear vision and excel at communicating it to their team members. They are adept at breaking down plans and strategies and providing clear direction and support to employees to help them achieve their objectives. As a result, they inspire and motivate their team members and inspire people to work towards a common goal.

2. Clear vision.

Great business leaders are visionaries and always look at the big picture regarding the organization's objectives. Successful business leaders stay focused on their goals, execute well-thought-out plans, and persevere through adversity by drawing inspiration from past successes and challenges. They consistently exhibit behaviors that will lead people to win and steadfastly pursue excellence.

3. Self-awareness.

An Inspirational leader can identify their strengths and weaknesses. They are also emotionally intelligent and always learn while on the job. Inspirational leaders stay curious and prioritize personal and professional development and growth, setting a positive example for their Team.

4. Passionate.

Inspirational leaders exude passion and inspiration. They can communicate effectively about the utmost significance of their vision and compel others to embrace their unwavering dedication wholeheartedly.

5. Active listeners.

Excellent speaking skills are not enough to be an effective, inspiring leader. Listening attentively is a critical aspect. Exceptional leaders prioritize providing sufficient time for people to express their thoughts.

They value these ideas, take a moment to consider them, and never diminish their importance. Leaders who prioritize listening inspire others to trust and follow them, creating a supportive environment for success.

6. Resilience.

When leading people, you are bound to encounter obstacles and the occasional project failure. Handling such situations is crucial, as your team members will observe your every move. Inspirational leaders will learn from these experiences and find solutions to overcome adversity.

They will exhibit resilience by maintaining composure and finding solutions to adapt to the situation rather than pointing fingers at team members or making them scapegoats. Resilience also helps them to repeat successful behaviors.

7. Authentic.

The best leaders possess an unwavering authenticity that enables them to connect with people. They readily share personal information about their background, the obstacles they've overcome, and their aspirations for the future.

Their genuineness is unmistakable, earning them extra respect from others. They take pride in their identity and don't pretend to be someone they're not. Above all, their behavior remains consistent in the workplace or personal life.

8. Service-oriented

"Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because service determines greatness. "- Martin Luther King JR.

Like a servant leader, an inspiring leader is service oriented.

Leadership through serving inspires others through selfless actions. It influences people through acts of kindness and care. Observing servant leaders inspires people to aspire to their qualities.

boss discussing something with an employee.

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How to Develop an Inspiring leadership style?

Adopting an inspirational leadership style can motivate your employees to perform better. Effective leadership styles can make significant improvements to your company. Here are some ways to develop this style:

1. Be responsible.

Demonstrating accountability for your weaknesses displays humility and a willingness to learn, which can inspire others. This is particularly important for managers, as acknowledging one's faults and working towards improvement can motivate team members to do the same. Moreover, this approach shows commitment and devotion to the Team by placing collective success above individual recognition.

2. Don't take all credit.

Leaders who inspire take responsibility for setbacks on their Team and acknowledge their successes. They do not seek to claim all the credit for a project to gain respect but rather motivate their Team by sharing praise.

Recognizing an employee's good performance and providing specific positive feedback can inspire motivation and foster a sense of pride. Poor leaders are known to do the opposite, so share credit to ensure your employees are recognized.

3. Build trust within your Team.

Developing trust with your colleagues is crucial for fostering growth at both the individual and team levels. When you establish trust with your coworkers, they are more likely to be open to your advice and guidance.

For example, avoid the tendency to micro-manage things, but rather delegate to direct reports or other relevant personnel.

As a leader, your ability to inspire and mentor others is greatly enhanced by the presence of trust. Building trust among coworkers creates a supportive environment where everyone is committed to the Team's best interests and can weather challenges and celebrate successes together.

4. Provide support.

Great leaders proactively support their team members without waiting to be asked. This creates a sense of community and motivates individuals to take on challenging projects. By making resources easily accessible, you can encourage others to take risks and strive for their career goals.

5. Know Your Employees.

Knowing your teammates' values and work styles can help you motivate them. Understanding their unique personalities can also help you adjust your leadership style. When people feel understood, they are more receptive to guidance and have more inspiration.

6. Have solid values.

To motivate your Team, encourage them to focus on positively impacting their life and community. Identify their core values: community, creativity, hard work, innovation, and respect. Establish trust to promote growth and development and foster open communication and collaboration.

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What are the Challenges of the Inspirational Leadership Style?

Every leadership style has pros and cons, and an inspiring one is no exception. Here are some challenges that can be attributed to this style:

1. Employee Burnout.

Inspirational leaders prioritize authenticity and the company's culture and values. However, their constant focus on celebrating accomplishments can overwhelm some employees, making success feel unattainable and leading to burnout.

2. Style can be Risky.

Leaders must realize that frequent and unnecessary change can be disruptive and harmful if not implemented carefully. It's common for companies to hire inspirational leaders to inspire change. Still, leaders must be cautious as they can become fixated on shifts at the expense of the organization's well-being.

It's essential for leaders to objectively assess whether a particular change is suitable for their organization at a given time to avoid adverse outcomes.

3. The Leader's Power can be Ineffective.

Inspirational Leadership is at risk when employees are not aligned with the leader's vision. This style depends on intrinsic motivation, which can be lacking if the picture is not heard or felt. The initiative may fail without transactional motivators, such as rewards and punishments. The leader's power lies in their ability to influence, but this is lost if too many employees disagree with the vision.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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How Highrise Can Teach You to Be an Inspirational Leader.

At Highrise, we work with certified coaches, who can provide valuable guidance and support to help you become an inspirational leader. Through personalized coaching sessions, Highrise can help you develop self-awareness, emotional intelligence, effective communication skills, and the ability to influence others positively.

By working with a Highrise coach, you will gain the necessary tools, insights, and strategies to inspire and motivate your team, foster a positive work culture, and achieve exceptional results. Investing in Highrise coaching can be a transformative experience that empowers you to lead with vision, authenticity, and empathy, ultimately making a significant impact on both your personal growth and your organization's success.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.