“Perpetual inspiration is as necessary to the life of goodness, holiness and happiness as perpetual respiration is necessary to animal life.”
William Law, English cleric and theological writer
Today, success, whether in big business, in our own business, in the creative and not for profit worlds is preceded by someone’s inspirational leadership.
The Sunday Times survey of the top 100 companies to work for said, “The energy and inspirational qualities of a company’s leaders emerge as the major factors in making a company one of the best to work for… the ability of the boss to inspire the workforce – the single biggest influence on a company’s ranking.” But the Chartered Institute of Management reported, “One third of respondents have never worked for or been motivated by, an exceptional leader, and only a third say their present leader creates a feeling of energy in their organisation.”
There is an inspirational leadership deficit. That can be enough to make most of us feel some despair.
Where are the inspirational leaders?
Even the word leadership is such a loaded word.
The first hurdle most of us stumble at is that the word leadership it conjures up so many thoughts and feelings, so many negative. Hitler, Trump and Lenin were leaders, but put many of us off the idea of leadership. Most of us have felt abused by people in power, or excluded by their exercise of power. But there have been great leaders too. Gandhi was a great leader, as was Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mother Theresa and Oprah Winfrey. Inspirational leadership can do so much good too.
But if we can get past that hurdle, then the second hurdle we stumble at is, “So where are todays inspirational leaders?” We think it needs to be someone else. Why aren’t other people more inspiring? We find it hard to look in the mirror and see someone with the capacity for inspirational leadership looking back at us.
How can we offer inspirational leadership? No-one has anointed, appointed us, no-one has voted for us to lead them or promoted us to a position of power. But here is the key distinction.
Inspirational leadership is a choice we make, not a position we have.
It is listening to that small still voice within you that is asking you to show up in your world. You can make the choice to boldly and courageously show up to make your difference in this world, to the people you most care about.
The first time I heard the idea that, “You are the hope for humanity,” my immediate response was, “Then we are doomed!” but increasingly over the years, I have actually become more optimistic. I met amazing people who are inspiringly and powerfully making positive difference in the world.
I see that inside each of us lives an inspiring leader and leadership gifts.
Your inspirational leadership is your key to success.
Whether you run your own business, work for one or for a not-for-profit, inspirational leadership is a key ingredient and cause of your success today. People want to be inspired by you, they want to know why you care about what you are doing, and they want to know something of your heart and your authenticity.
They want to know that you are living out the calling within your own soul.
They want your humanness as well as your competence.
They are keen to know something of the journey you have been on to get where you are, and what you have struggled with and overcome to get there. They want you to be able to give them hope, for themselves and for the world.
There is no right way to lead – there is YOUR way to lead