How to be an Empowering Leader and Inspire Action
“Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us.”
There are many ways to lead, and even more ways to be a leader. You may be in a position of authority – such as a boss, a manager, or even a parent. You may also simply be a person that others genuinely look up to. All of these things qualify as leadership positions, and chances are, you fall under this category.
Lead by Example
If you’re a leader, you want to use your influence for good. It’s important that you recognize the people you have under your influence, and how your actions affect them. A great leader “talks the talk and walks the walk,” meaning that you’re capable of doing everything that you’re asking of others. It’s important that those looking up to you see that you’re doing your part, too.
Communication is Key
In this TED talk by Simon Sinek, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4) he talks about how a great leader will walk people through and coach them until they feel comfortable taking the lead themselves. If you were a boss and your employee was underperforming, would you let them go or try to help them? Just like a parent would try to walk a child through the process of improvement, a great leader teaches gives others the proper resources and help they need to let them lead.
Measure and Reward Performance
The best motivation is a reward. A reward does not have to be something physical, like money. Sometimes the pride that comes from feeling appreciated can be reward enough. Consistent performers aren’t taken for granted by great leaders, and their hard work is always recognized. Although numbers and measures of ROI are taken into account, it’s important to recognize every effort (even the ones that didn’t always have an amazing result) because most people crave genuine appreciation and will work to receive that every time.
Invest in Relationships
Your workers are more than employees. They have lives. They have families. They have problems. Get to know what’s going on outside of the office on a more personal level. Always keep it professional, but make sure your employees know you care about them. One follow-up question about their child or their side-hobby could make their day and improve their mood exponentially. A good leader is aware of their followers and does everything they can to keep them happy in all aspects – not just in the workplace. This also increases their positive feelings of association with you and in turn, will make them more loyal to the company and to their own work.
There are many ways to lead – focus on lifting others and you will be successful in your own way. You can be a great force for good in motivating those around you. John Quincy Adams said it best, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”