Great leaders are commonly described as “natural” or “born” leaders. Although some leaders seem to have been born to lead, this isn’t always the case. Most inspiring leaders develop their leadership skills through hard work and effort over time. And they also rely on several key behaviors.
To be an inspiring leader, you should demonstrate five behavioral traits:
- enable those around you to act
- share your vision
- challenge the existing system
- encourage others
- model the sort of behavior you’re asking of others
Enabling others around you to act entails building a cohesive, collaborative team-based around trust and honesty. There are three ways to enable others:
- cultivate collaboration
- empower others
- turn followers into leaders
Share your vision
Sharing your vision reflects progressiveness. To provide inspiring leadership, you need to imagine a positive future and be passionate about it – and convey that image and passion to others. There are three steps to sharing your vision:
- imagine the possibilities
- enlist others
- mobilize everyone
Inspiring leaders always look at how change could produce improvement, innovation, and growth, which reflects progressiveness. As part of this willingness to challenge the existing order, inspiring leaders do a number of things:
- anticipate change
- observe external developments
- seize the initial
- experiment and take risks
As an inspiring leader, you provide more than guidance or direction – you provide energy and encouragement. People need this to consistently perform at a high level, behave courageously, or persevere. You encourage others in a number of ways:
- acknowledging contributions
- celebrating shared values
- perpetuating success stories
You need to prove you’re committed to the values you champion. To convince others of your personal commitment, it’s important that you’re seen to be doing exactly what you’re asking others to do. You can do this in two ways:
- personify the common values and getting others to model these values.
- get others to model common values.
There are five key traits that inspiring leaders demonstrate in their behavior.
- First, inspiring leaders enable others to act, which entails cultivating collaboration, empowering others, and turning followers into leaders.
- Second, they share their vision for the organization with those around them and, in doing so, imagine the possibilities, enlist others, and mobilize everyone.
- Third, inspiring leaders are willing to challenge the current way of doing things, and should – as part of this – anticipate change, observe external developments, seize the initiative, and experiment and take risks.
- Fourth, they encourage others, which includes acknowledging contributions, celebrating shared values, and perpetuating success stories.
- Finally, inspiring leaders model whatever it is they’re asking of others by personifying the common values and getting others to model these values.