Last week we talked about the importance of articulating your vision to those you lead by painting a vivid picture of the future. Just as important: sharing your own excitement and passion for that vision.
It should go without saying that in order for leaders to inspire others with their vision for the future, they themselves must be inspired and passionate about it! Or, as my friend Tom Furman put it, “If a leader cannot be honestly excited about his or her organization’s mission and vision, then he or she will never be effective at inspiring and coordinating other people to follow in pursuit of it.”
Another one of my friends and colleagues, Richard Howe, expanded on that concept, explaining:
“Leaders must lead by example. They must be excited about what they are doing, must express enthusiasm and encouragement toward achieving goals, and must celebrate successes all the time—both the little ones and the big ones. Excitement and celebrating successes creates inspiration!”
Richard went on to describe inspirational leadership as the “fuel” that pushes individuals to achieve more and drives teams to function at their very best. “Team members will go out of their way for a passionate, visionary leader. The atmosphere turns from just pure work to something that all team members aspire to be a part of.”
Inspiration starts at the top, with a passionate, excited, enthusiastic leader! As Ralph Nader once said, “A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” So if you want to inspire, first you must be excited!
[This article was adapted from Chapter 12 of my book, Be An Inspirational Leader]