Be An Inspirational Leader

If you want more significant, meaningful and long lasting success in your life and work (however you define success), become a more effective Inspirational Leader.  Whether serving at home, at work, in their communities or wherever life and opportunities to serve lead them, inspirational leaders are on the top rung of the success ladder.  They lead the world!  They create outstanding value by making positive things happen and they help positive, successful people become even more positive and successful.

Think back through your life and career.  Which leaders, supervisors, colleagues, teachers, mentors or friends have had the greatest positive influence on you and your life?  They will not be the people who verbally or physically whipped you, inappropriately pushed you, used a cow prod on you or sent you to “motivational meetings.”  They will almost always be the people who inspired you and helped you find and refine your “high calling” in your career and life’s work.  The purpose for which you are on this earth!

As a leader, I would rather have team members who are “average” but truly inspired than to have “above average” or highly intelligent, gifted team members who are not inspired.  In fact I would almost always rather have team members and colleagues who are a bit “below average” but truly inspired about their work than to have “above average” or highly gifted team members who are not inspired.  Long term, a truly inspired person will almost always be more successful and out perform the “above average” or highly gifted who are not inspired.  A thousand examples could easily be cited.  All you have to do is look around or do some reading or research to identify thousands of examples in every industry and every walk of life.

Far better to spend your precious energy, irreplaceable time and fast-fleeting life on that for which you are inspired as opposed to slaving away on that for which you are not and never will be inspired!

Years ago I used to see full page ads in business and leadership magazines that said, “Send me a man or woman who reads.”  The ads were funded by industries and organizations that benefit when people read, such as publishers, booksellers, colleges, universities, and all sorts of organizations who desire to recruit life-long learners… people who read extensively.  I say, “Send me a few women or men who are truly inspired by the work they do or by the core focus of their lives.”  With these inspired people, success is virtually guaranteed!

It is important to understand that there is a huge difference between motivation and inspiration.  Motivation works for a little while.  Inspiration can last for a life time.  Motivation is external.  Inspiration is internal.  Motivation is externally driven.  Inspiration is internally driven.  Doing what it takes to create and nurture a truly inspired team is at least one hundred times, maybe a thousand times more difficult than temporarily motivating a team.  That is why motivation is so popular.  But the time, effort, preparation, sweat, toil, transparency, integrity and personal example of the truly inspirational leader pays handsomely! As an inspirational leader, if you create or assemble the right elements (fuel), in the right atmosphere (support, encouragement and life giving oxygen), in the right people (inspired people you have carefully selected)… you very well may light an internal flame and fire (inspiration) that will burn for a lifetime.

Truly inspired people will achieve almost anything to which they set their heart, mind and focus.

Motivational meetings and activities sometimes get people fired up, all excited, even lathered up and hot and bothered for whatever the cause.  However, if you stick around a while or do an evaluation over time, almost all of the excitement and externally driven motivation will be gone… sooner rather than later.  Like a cow prod, stick or nice prize, “motivation” is externally administered and will soon fade in effectiveness.  In fact, over time, these motivational activities usually do more harm than good.  The cow prod or stick will be remembered and resented and the prize or bonus had better be increasingly bigger and better.  Reduce or take away the now expected external prize or bonus and watch what happens.  These people quickly become demoralized, feel cheated and begin running for the doors to find work elsewhere that once again rewards them externally for work they don’t like, dread or even hate.  They are not inspired.  They do the work only for the external rewards.  This well-worn road is one of the quickest and surest paths to dissatisfaction, apathy, increasing depression and ultimate failure.

Consider the significant to extreme differences in long term success, satisfaction and results between two groups of people.  First, reflect on the externally driven “I do the work but only for the external rewards” kind of people.  Then, reflect on the internally driven “I do the work because I love the way it makes me feel and the contributions I make to the lives of others” kind of people.  The differences are huge in terms of philosophies of life and work, long term success, personal and professional joy and satisfaction, and the results and value of work accomplished.

By the way, I am not against rewards, bonuses, excellent compensation and other appropriate ways to reward and recognize people for excellent performance and desired results.  However, combine appropriate compensation and recognition with inspired people and you have what the software industry calls “The Killer App.”  Investopedia defines the killer app as “a buzzword that describes a software application that surpasses all of its competitors.”  Humm… surpasses all of its competitors… now we’re talking… Great Tips for Success!

Don’t just lead people to make their numbers, accomplish artificial though important goals, or move from one place to another.  Through Inspirational Leadership, inspire them, lead them and free them to accomplish their dreams and go where they want to go.  In the process, they will take you with them and accomplish far more than you ever dreamed possible, including all the numbers and goals that are important to you!

Learn through study and application to be a more effective inspirational leader.  Do whatever it takes.  You will never make a better investment in yourself and you will never make a better investment on behalf of those you lead… both now and in the future.  Inspirational leaders create outstanding value by making positive things happen and they help positive, successful people become even more positive and successful.  That is a killer app… and now it’s up to you!

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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“Dan Nielsen is a gifted facilitator and inspiring presenter. He truly has a passion for leadership and for getting to the heart of the matter. He knows what it takes to motivate both individuals and groups and genuinely leads by the example he sets.”

Sharla K JonesVP, HR Learning & Development Manager, PlainsCapital Bank

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