Ask Yourself ‘Why?’

I didn’t coin the phrase, but I’ve repeated it many times: leadership is influence. If you agree with that concept—and that everyone has influence on others and therefore we are all leaders—then you probably realize how very important effective, inspirational leadership is. Leadership touches every facet of your life, and leadership done with excellence changes everything.

Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect leader. However, truly inspirational leaders do have one thing right: their motives. As John Maxwell writes,

“There is a big difference between people who want to lead because they are genuinely interested in others and possess a desire to help them, and people who are in it to help only themselves… As a leader, it’s important to question your motives often, because the temptation to lead for selfish reasons is strong.”

Even leaders with solid character and good values can fall prey to bad motives, which is why it’s important to frequently evaluate the motivation behind your leadership. Leaders have power. Power to influence. That power to influence can very easily be twisted from something positive into something manipulative for personal gain. So regularly asking yourself why you desire to lead and influence others is an important habit for every leader to adopt (and remember, we’re all leaders)!

To be an inspirational leader, focus on how you can most positively impact others, not on what you will gain yourself. John Maxwell said it well: “You only inspire people if you value people.”


Interested in learning more about inspirational leadership? Check out for additional resources!


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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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