Last week I was reminded of all the inspirational leaders who have touched my life in one way or another. I’ve been blessed to have worked with a few truly inspirational leaders; and come from a nation that was built on the foundation of one man’s dreams of what is possible. It made me think about what exactly it is that draws us to them.
I realised that that it’s nothing to do with clear strategy or communication or any of the other leadership traits that’s commonly discussed. While those things are important, to me at least, it comes down to a few simple human truths. Thus, I believe that all of us have the power within us to inspire others.
See if you recognise any of these traits in leaders who have inspired you both past and present; and indeed in yourself.
They have Clarity of Purpose
They are clear about who they are and what they stand for. They are mission focused. They know their purpose – how they contribute and make a difference to the world and people around them – and it is this singular focus that drives what they do everyday.
They are Authentic
They speak from their heart and they ‘walk the talk’. As a result, they have integrity and we trust them. Their authenticity speaks to our hearts, not just our minds; and thus they inspire us.
They believe in the ‘impossible’
We call them ‘visionary’. Yes, they have big dreams and a clear vision of the future. Importantly, they are unwavering in what they believe is possible. Their clarity of purpose helps them be more resilient in the face of challenges; and they steadfastly push towards their dreams of what’s possible.
They don’t settle for mediocrity
Inspiring leaders have high standards. Of themselves and of others. The inspirational leaders I’ve worked for have been some of toughest I’ve ever had. I remember thinking many times that what is being asked of us to achieve is ‘impossible’ … yet …. almost every time, we’ve succeeded. Because they didn’t settle for anything less, we didn’t either.
Their ‘footprint’ stays long after they’ve gone
Their purpose and dreams are bigger than the person itself. Thus their legacy lives on. Whether in the values they pass on or their belief in the ‘impossible’. Lessons learnt from them stays with us and without realising it, strengthens us in the pursuit of our own dreams.
Every one of these traits is within us. No doubt it comes forth a lot easier when you’re clear about your purpose, but it is there. We don’t have to be creative geniuses or brilliant leaders running governments or global companies. We each in our own unique way have the power to inspire others to believe in themselves and in the possibility of the so-called ‘impossible’. And in doing so, we lift others to fly high with us.
Be clear about your purpose. Speak authentically from your heart and stay unwavering in how you want to make a difference. You too can be an inspiring leader.
“Become the kind of leader that people will follow voluntarily, even if you had no position or title’ – Brian Tracy