Inspirational Leadership: Some Resolutions

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Three Ideas To Maximize Your Team’s Motivation

by Michael D. Hume, M.S.

Most of my clients are thinking about how to make 2011 a better year in terms of their own inspirational leadership. Here are three ideas for New Year’s resolutions for the leader who wants to maximize her potential to inspire.

Listen with empathy. Anyone can capture the content of what another person says… but have you ever known someone to say they didn’t feel heard, even when you know their points were noted? Empathy is the difference between simply downloading what a person says and truly connecting with them. In 2011, go beyond the simple content of what your people are saying to you. Reflect on what they say, and on how they choose to say it. Prove you’ve truly heard them. Put yourself in their shoes, and demonstrate through superb listening that you “get” where your folks are coming from.

Assert with clarity. Too many leaders talk like teachers. They tell you what they’re gonna tell you, they tell you, and then they tell you what they told you. Too much repetition; too much failure to trust the troops to understand what the leader’s saying. This year, think “ABC” when you have an opportunity to address your team: be Accurate (saying exactly what you mean), Brief (in as few words as possible), and Clear (making your messages simple and easy to remember). People love clarity. It inspires a strong followership.

Act with integrity. Make sure your behaviors and decisions are completely consistent with your values, and with the “brand” of leader you intend to be. That’s easier said than done; when your actions fall outside your high standards of integrity, don’t duck the issue, don’t pretend it’ll go away if you ignore it, and don’t try to blame someone else. Take the heat. Apologize. It doesn’t make you look weak, as you might fear… instead, people consistently report that they gain respect for their leaders when those leaders have the humility to own up to their own mistakes.

If, as a leader, all you accomplish in 2011 is a noticeable improvement in these three areas, you’ll be more inspirational to everyone around you. Whether you own your own business, make your living through investments, or work for a company, you know these are challenging times. They aren’t easy, but the efforts you put forth in these three areas are sure to pay worthwhile dividends.