Every day, we can be inspired and be the one who inspires. To be inspired we must choose to be around those who motivate us to do better, to take chances, and to believe in ourselves. We must read and learn how others have overcome challenges and we must allow ourselves quiet time to declutter our thoughts and make room for our own inspirations. Without being inspired ourselves, we cannot inspire others and leading without inspiration is just telling people what to do and expecting them to do it—where’s the joy in that?
Make space for inspiration every day, so that when challenges arise, your team is ready.
Be Open and Honest
- Share the company’s challenges and your plans to overcome them.
- Don’t hide your mistakes. Show your team how you deal with them.
- Be visible when you move forward from challenges and missteps. In doing so, you will inspire others to take chances and stretch themselves in new ways.
Develop Confident Teams
- Encourage those you lead to make decisions and take ownership of those decisions.
- Make yourself available to coach and mentor them along the way.
- Build collaborative teams and encourage them to communicate, create, and innovate by drawing on each other for inspiration.
Be the Leader Who Makes Things Happen
- Provide those around you with the support, resources, encouragement, and belief in themselves to make things happen.
- Make clear your commitment to everyone’s success in achieving the company’s mission and vision, and those you lead will persevere even in the most challenging of times.
I have witnessed many inspirational leaders in my career, but as I write this post, one leader keeps coming to mind: Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). When Paul asked me to facilitate building SNHU’s strategic plan, I was honored because I knew what Paul had done for SNHU. Under Paul’s leadership, SNHU has grown from 2,800 students to over 160,000 learners and is the largest nonprofit provider of online higher education in the country. I was excited for the opportunity to see him in action with his team.
During one of the strategic planning meetings, there was discussion about developing an innovative new program. This was intended to be the discussion stage, but Paul could see the potential and he turned to one of the deans and said, “Next week, find ten students who are willing to enter this pilot program for free with the agreement that they will provide us structured feedback. In return, we’ll give them free tuition next year.” How inspired do you think that dean was to go find ten students to offer free tuition to so SNHU could develop an exciting new program?
Paul knew that if they had a shot at building this new program for their students, they needed to gather some real data as quickly as possible to see if and how to move forward. By making it actionable, he empowered his team to think big and believe in their ability to make it happen.
Paul’s magical growth mindset is contagious all the way down to the students who are invited to participate in a cutting-edge pilot program. I’ve seen Paul inspire this type of leap at least three times in a single session.
Paul is a fountain of innovative ideas, but it’s his ability to win the hearts and minds of those who may lack innovation and inspiring them to think big, to think why not, to think we can do this that is the catalyst for making amazing things happen. People want to do great things for him and with him, because they see the great things he is doing for the university.
Who are you inspiring to do great things with you?