The Profile of an Inspirational Leader

Written 8 years ago with my wife Kris MacKain, Ph.D.

So what does an inspirational leader look like?

As a leader, you have a vision of where you want your organization to go.

You know you need to inspire individuals to get them to follow you and make that vision a reality. But how do you do that? How do you connect with people in a way that fires them up, motivating them to commit to your vision and give you their best?

In our book “What Inspirational Leaders Do” (Kindle 2008) we explore what inspirational leaders do to bring out the best in others. Specifically, we discuss several important needs or behaviors that you, as a leader, will need to know in order to inspire your team to work together to realize the vision you have for your organization.

The needs we have identified have arisen out of our work in coaching and developing business leaders all over the world. Over the last decade, we often began our first coaching session by asking, “What inspires you?” The answers to this question were compelling in that they typically reflected an individual leader’s deeply held values or needs. We subsequently grouped these needs into five categories that we call The Five Sources of Inspiration.

These sources reflect specific human needs that, when met, can release powerful inspirational forces.

The Five Sources of Inspiration

The need to:

1. Make a contribution to benefit individuals or the world-at-large. (Contribution)

2. Work in alignment with one’s highest values. (Character)

3. Engage one’s creative potential, to imagine a better way. (Imagination)

4. Be interpersonally moved or emotionally engaged to work toward achieving team goals. (Empathy)

5. Be acknowledged and affirmed for one’s unique talents and strengths, and engage those skills in meeting work challenges. (Expecting the Best)

Once engaged, these needs drive individuals to perform and produce at levels they previously may not have thought possible. A leader’s first step in inspiring others is to identify which source(s) of inspiration drive a particular individual and then appeal to that source.

Now you know the basic theme of our book.

Describe the leader who inspires you and why

If you liked this post please click the box below and let me know! Even better, why not share it with someone who you think might find it useful? 

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About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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