[December 14, 2014] The world’s greatest senior leaders have one thing in common. Each has been able to rally people to a great cause and lead them to achieve something that no one else was able to do. In one word, these leaders were inspirational.
Due to the recognition of the high value of inspirational leadership, it has been studied thoroughly. Yet there remains no agreement among the most intelligent minds as to the basic requirements of those who inspire. Many books have been written and some make a living teaching others how to be an inspirational, but the content of each differs. Is the formula for inspirational leadership impossible to find – does it even exist?
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
President Kennedy in his inauguration speech, given in 1961 in this single sentence, challenged the people of America to put the betterment of all citizens ahead of personal ambition and created a vision that we can improve our country by each person doing his part. His speech was a rallying cry to pull together as one, created hope in all of humankind, defended the quest for freedom for all, and it could be achieved through belief, strength, and sacrifice.
The greatest of leaders inspire those around them to achieve great things. They do this by providing a simple and logical future to seek and enhancing the lives of all those they encounter. Charismatic leadership is not a necessary component of those who inspire others; it also can be done in a quiet, respectful way. And, it doesn’t have to be the most popular thing to do. What is important is that the leader is able to inspire others by rallying people to a greater good.
Here are some of the most important things that inspirational leaders do:
- Provide a bold vision
- Make people’s lives meaningful
- Involve everyone; empower and trust all
- Motivate, inspire, and energize
Leaders who are inspirational also have the talent to consistently make great decisions, especially when in a complex and uncertain environment. When there are a wide range of variables that factor into decision-making, the great leader moulds the vision into a clear and simple strategy that can be explained to everyone. Only then can people be rallied to it.
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