Good leaders motivate their subordinates and employees, but truly great leaders inspire them.
Many people use the ideas of motivation and inspiration as if they are the same, but they are actually very different concepts. The very nature of the word ‘inspire’ means ‘in spirit’. It’s something that comes from within.
On the other hand, motivation is based on motive. That’s far from something internal, as it comes from outside. External forces make people take action, even when it’s something they’d rather not do.
When a great leader inspires, they do so knowing that something will stir the spirit of those following them, perhaps even their hearts and minds. People can be inspiring, but so to can situations and events.
When someone is inspired, they don’t worry about the end result. As a matter of fact, most people who get inspired only want to hang onto their feeling of inspiration for as long as they possibly can.
Inspiration is truly important to leadership. Research involving thousands of CEOs across several dozen countries ranked three of the most crucial leadership traits. They included an ability for inspiration, the power to collaborate with others, and a capacity to focus intently on the needs of customers.
When employees are inspired, they’re twice as productive, if not more so, than employees who are merely satisfied. Employees want and even crave this in leaders. They don’t want to just show up, work for 8 hours, and then get paid. They want to be a part of something that matters.
Great leaders can inspire in many ways. First, they need to be clear about their mission, vision, and values. Second, they need to create stretch goals. This allows them to illustrate broad perspective of the possibilities for those that follow them in order to see unlimited potential.
Inspiring leaders aren’t just sources of inspiration. They also work with their people to get things done. Rather than just decreeing instructions, they prove to be very collaborative. Self-development can’t just be something leaders do, as they must foster growth in those around them. When anyone around leaders accomplishes anything, it needs to be acknowledged.
Throughout all of this, clear communication is truly essential. Be understood, but also be a great listener.