As a leader, one of your primary roles is to be a motivator and a source of inspiration for others to keep going. Essentially, you are the ultimate cheerleader. As an example, you are encouraging those around you to continue being innovative in times of change, you are a voice of reason when people get down on themselves, you champion a teammates efforts even though everything didn’t go quite according to plan.
When you take on the role of Chief Inspiration Officer, you need to be driven and passionate in order to inspire others. You also need to find inspirational methods that are sustainable, so that inspiration can be maintained on an ongoing basis, rather than being a one-time experience. You are not only encouraging and motivating others, you are doing the same for yourself.
As an inspirational leader, you must provide an initial spark that invites people to perform at a higher level, gets them excited and elevates and motivates people for the long-term by telling them the “why” and showing them what’s in it for them.
A client shared they received a call by a CEO who owned a popular chain of stores in southern California who said, “We’re adopting this new program, a new way that we want our employees to sell and to encourage our customers to buy. It’s a price matching program – if you find an item in one store and we have the item as well and their price is lower than ours, we will give you that same lower price. We want our Managers to be inspired to engage in this program. Why don’t you all come in and give them an inspirational talk. That will surely keep them engaged and motivated to get going.” My client eloquently said, “While we could certainly do this, the longevity of inspiration doesn’t simply happen from a talk.”
Such an approach is not sustainable. If someone from outside the organization gives an inspiration speech, there is motivation situationally and for a short term. This approach is not sustainable because there is no follow-through. Especially when you are asking people to engage in behavioral shifts as well as changing their work habits, this requires training and development.
When on boarding employees to a new process, it’s critical to share why you are creating this program, the benefit for the company, the employees and the customer as a context. Then continue to encourage them, cheerlead them and together remove obstacles that get in the way. Also if you provide them with resources and skill building, there is a measurable path forward to creating the possibility for sustainability with the program. Without context and development, many times employees will see a new program as you simply asking them to do work in their already overloaded day.
Elevating people and their performance takes ongoing and congruent inspiration. People are drawn to move toward your goals with you when you are genuine and sincere with them and they can genuinely and sustainably share in your passion and inspiration.
Whenever you start a new initiative, no matter how noble, make sure you are communicating why a change is necessary, how employees can contribute, and what the benefit is to them and to the organization. Then follow through to ensure that what has been promised is delivered. Sustainability is inspiring.
Esther Weinberg is the Chief Leadership Development Officer and Founder of The Ready Zone. To dive deeper into the ideas and strategies offered in this article, complete our Needs Assessment and we’ll schedule time to connect.
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