Insight article

The secret of a good leader

What makes a good leader?  And more importantly, why?  Here are seven ‘top tips’ for leaders who want to inspire their people, courtesy of The Practice of Leadership…

1. Demonstrate enthusiasm—constantly. “Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do. You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Period.“

2. Articulate a compelling course of action. “Inspiring leaders craft and deliver a specific, consistent, and memorable vision. …. The power of a vision set everything in motion.“

3. Sell the benefit. “Always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. In my first class at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, I was taught to answer the question, “Why should my readers care?” That’s the same thing you need to ask yourself constantly throughout a presentation, meeting, pitch, or any situation where persuasion takes place. Your listeners are asking themselves, what’s in this for me? Answer it. Don’t make them guess.“

4. Tell more stories. “Inspiring leaders tell memorable stories. Few business leaders appreciate the power of stories to connect with their audiences. … No amount of data can replace [a] story….. Stories connect with people on an emotional level. Tell more of them.“

5. Invite participation. “Inspiring leaders bring employees, customers, and colleagues into the process of building the company or service. This is especially important when trying to motivate young people. The command and control way of managing is over. Instead, today’s managers solicit input, listen for feedback, and actively incorporate what they hear. Employees want more than a paycheck. They want to know that their work is adding up to something meaningful.“

6. Reinforce an optimistic outlook. “Inspiring leaders speak of a better future….. Extraordinary leaders throughout history have been more optimistic than the average person. Winston Churchill exuded hope and confidence in the darkest days of World War II. Colin Powell said that optimism was the secret behind Ronald Reagan’s charisma. Powell also said that optimism is a force multiplier, meaning it has a ripple effect throughout an organization. Speak in positive, optimistic language. Be a beacon of hope.“

7. Encourage potential. “Inspiring leaders praise people and invest in them emotionally….. When people receive genuine praise, their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar. Encourage people and they’ll walk through walls for you.“

Nailia Tasseel