How to be an inspiring leader


In the fifth and final of a series of blogs on business improvement, Karen Hain discusses how you can become an inspiring leader.


You can’t expect other people to be inspired if you aren’t, so make sure your driving passion is there for all in your team to see.


Communicate your vision using straightforward, powerful words and images that stimulate the imagination. People are excited by vivid, accessible ideas and turned off by complicated business jargon.


Inspiring leaders project a sustained and memorable vision of where the business will be if you succeed by pulling together as a team.


It’s equally important to focus on the benefits you can deliver as a leader. Being inspirational isn’t about making a charismatic entrance or demonstrating a rapier-like wit, but making people aware of what they have to gain by going along with you on your journey.


Another essential skill used by inspirational leaders is to involve people in building the business. The most effective managers ask for input and listen to feedback because they recognise that their people need to know they are making a difference to the broader picture.


A positive outlook, regardless of the circumstances, will boost any leader’s ability to inspire. Great historical leaders have displayed immense reserves of optimism. When asked to surrender his badly damaged ship, the American naval commander John Paul Jones famously replied: “I have not yet begun to fight” and went on to win an outstanding victory against the odds.


The ability to give praise is also a valuable attribute for inspiring leaders. By showing that you value people’s efforts, you will establish an immediate and enduring connection that will encourage them to become serial high performers.


Finally, it’s critical to keep your cool in all situations. Any sign of panic will have a bad effect on your people, while remaining level headed, no matter what, will achieve the opposite.