Living the Values in your Leadership

Values play an essential role in Leadership Credibility and Authority. They are at the root of motivation and respect for Leadership:

Values are efficient: they help us navigate infinite situations better than any rule book

Values are timeless: giving us strength to be consistent even though the pressures of life tell us to be situational.

Values are enduring: inspiring us to be principled however inconvenient, unpopular or dangerous that might be

Values elevate us to act beyond what we can do, to embrace what we should do.

Do you remember the last time you were inspired to do something great? Something that you didn’t think you were capable of doing? Inspirational leadership would be those people in our lives who pushed us beyond what we imagined and I am extremely thankful for it.

It was a teacher at school, a senior manager in Corporate, a small business owner that was my boss. All of whom I wanted to work beyond what was expected and excel at a higher level for.

They always believed you were capable of more, that you could be excellent. On the other hand, I’ve worked for (not with) people who were usual “managers” – people who dictated work, didn’t expect excellence, didn’t provide challenges, authority or responsibility, and didn’t care. They did not live values of respect for life, self and others.

  1. Inspirational leaders do not sell you short.

An entrepreneur that’s hiring senior team members was having a difficult time. When asked if there were any up and comers in the company that he could see becoming a senior manager he said there are some strong performers, but they just don’t have the skills to do it. An inspirational leader might take a risk and put the title of “interim Senior Manager” title on one of the star performers and see if they can step up and do the job. An inspirational leader provides opportunities beyond what the individual or the leader thinks the individual is capable of. The results might surprise you. Don’t sell people short, invest in your starts and give them enough responsibility where they might fail. Push and coach, always compete – make sure they have an opportunity to win or lose and learn from it. If all they do is win, you just might not be using them enough!

  1. Inspirational leaders get rid of people quickly.

Bad employees and bad leaders not only don’t produce, they also have a huge negative impact on the team. Your leadership becomes undermined and confidence in your philosophies start getting eroded – and this is on your payroll!  Don’t get rid of people who disagree with you, but people who are always negative, never see solutions, don’t care, are never accountable cannot be on your team. No matter how inspirational you might be to the majority of your team, they will always wonder why you’ve kept the non-performer on as long as you have. These people are so easy to spot – they’re difficult, they wear you down, they take up your time, and you allow them to drain your energy. You need all your energy focused on what is important. Be a real leader and let them go quickly and with dignity. They may even thank you for it later.

  1. Inspirational leaders do not lead through fear.

They lead through confidence and shared vision. Think about the managers you’ve worked for that you were always worried about getting fired, angry outbursts or caused undue unhealthy emotional and physical stress. Although it does motivate some, it becomes a quick spiral to burnout for star performers. Fear can be a reasonable short-term strategy, but rarely sustainable. Inspirational leaders instil confidence and purpose into the workplace. There is a clear vision amongst the team and confidence in the leader. The leader sets out on which mountain to scale or war to fight, but relies on the team to own the strategy and execution to scale the mountain or win the war (or complete the project on time). The inspirational leader is the cheerleader that instils confidence into each person that the mountain is worth scaling and the war is worth winning. Do your employees and team members know what your vision is? Do they have confidence in you to lead or are they fearful of you? Or neither?

  1. Inspirational leaders have a constant flow of internal energy.

We saw it in Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi and others. Are you fired up about the shared vision? Are you energized? Is there a positive ethos, momentum, and determination that people can sense when they are around you? This is hard to measure, but do you feel inspired each day you wake up and interact with people? Ask those around you – do they get more energy after spending time with you or less energy? If you regularly and constantly take time to re-charge, people will feed off your energy.

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