Tricia Karp Tricia Karp
12 May 2015

Ten ways to be an inspiring leader

We live in a world where people who tell personal stories on stage are revered, anyone can be seen and heard more than ever before, and expressing vulnerability is the new black.

Not at work though. And the gap is rapidly widening.

If the keys to success as a leader for our times include connectedness, humility, candour, openness and empathy – and they do, according to a growing body of research – it’s time for leaders to get serious about being inspiring.

Despite the best efforts of those charged with making positive changes in organisations, the so-called ‘solutions’ to reversing unhappy teams, waning productivity and gender diversity struggles aren’t working.

If you’re not inspiring, you’re not a leader.

So let’s start there.

How to inspire others to be their best

1.    Be a great example. People watch what you do. It has way more impact than what you say. Be someone worth following.

2.    Care about people, and show it. No-one cares about how much you know until they know how much you care. Ask questions. Remember important facts and refer to them later. Show genuine interest. Relationships come first.

3.    Encourage people. When times are tough, support people. Help them to see the best in themselves and the situation. Care.

4.    Be inspired yourself. You can’t inspire anyone unless you’re inspired yourself. Be married to your mission (happily, that is. Not on the verge of divorce). Source other people, ideas, and knowledge, and immerse yourself in what inspires and motivates you.

5.    Tell personal stories. Tell personal stories. Tell personal stories. Did I say tell personal stories? Sharing from your own experiences with the insights and wisdom you’ve learned is one of the most profound ways to be inspiring. Your message matters. People want to hear it. You’d be amazed how you’ll touch others when you share your personal stories. Connect.

6.    Be vulnerable. Yes, vulnerable. It’s as simple as being willing to share your ‘failures’ as well as your successes. People who only share their successes aren’t considered trustworthy. Be real. It isn’t about sharing your ‘failures’ while you’re still deep in their muck. It’s about coming out the other side and being open and honest about what it took to get to where you are. So inspiring.

7.    Tell stories. They don’t have to be yours. Tell a story about someone else, or a brand story. There’s an old saying that facts tell and stories sell. Stories touch us. They connect with the part of the brain that says ‘yes please’. Before you get to the statistics, tell a story. Or even better, use a story in a fascinating way to illustrate those statistics.

8.    Be a great communicator. Be purposeful, personal and powerful. It’s a recipe for connecting. Invest in learning how.

9.    Challenge people. Be a “carefrontationalist”. People who challenge us to play bigger, who see something in us that we can’t see yet, are oh-so inspiring.

10. Share freely. Keep informed. Share what you learn. Tell people about what inspires you.

Start. Inspiring leaders are what the world needs right now.

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I’m Tricia Karp, and I’m on a mission to develop the type of leaders the world needs right now. I offer workshops, coaching and consulting for organisations and individuals who are committed to making a difference. You can find out more right here.

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