How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Noelle Ihli

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

A Leader’s Guide to Inspiration in the Workplace

What qualities do truly inspirational leaders share? And even more importantly, what is it about their unique style of leadership that turns inspiration into actions and results?

Consider this post your guide to inspiration in the workplace. Keep reading to learn about the leadership qualities that will motivate your team to succeed. 

The Qualities Strong Leaders Share

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and from different backgrounds. But influential leaders that motivate their employees tend to practice these common behaviors.

Prioritize Psychological Safety

Google’s long-term study Project Aristotle found that the essential quality of successful teams is “psychological safety,” or the degree to which employees feel safe making mistakes, taking risks, and speaking up. Strong leaders prioritize the building blocks of psychological safety: connection, open communication, and vulnerability. 

Empower Team Members

Across the board, strong leaders resist the urge to micromanage. Instead, they rely on their employees' unique strengths and skills. Such leaders give their team members the resources and time necessary to succeed, plus the freedom to execute with autonomy. 

Put Trust on a Pedestal

Strong leaders generously extend trust. They understand that trusting their employees is risky—but mistrusting them is riskier. They know that the benefits of extending trust include higher productivity, better engagement, and lower employee stress. 

Lead by Example

Great leaders roll up their sleeves and get to work modeling the personal characteristics and behaviors they expect from their employees. They know that “do as I say, not as I do” won’t galvanize a team to take action or achieve results.

Create Clear Expectations

To inspire results, great leaders set concrete goals and clearly communicate them. Strong communication skills put everyone on the same page and help the team work together synergistically instead of haphazardly. 

Learn the Art of Radical Candor

To become a strong, inspirational leader, master the art of radically candid praise and criticism. This type of feedback is specific, behavior-focused, and personal. Great leaders use it to zero in on productive and unhelpful behaviors to help employees cultivate a growth mindset.

Celebrate Accomplishments

Want to build a team of highly engaged employees eager to follow your lead? Highlight and reward their accomplishments and hard work—including endeavors that ultimately failed but showed grit, passion, teamwork, and perseverance. Focusing on the positive builds momentum and encourages team members to continue taking action. 

Making the Leap From Inspiration to Action

The ultimate test of a truly inspirational leader is whether their leadership not only pumps employees up but propels them to take action and deliver results. 

Ask yourself the following questions to keep your leadership grounded in action and results:

  1. Am I providing my employees with the resources they need to deliver the results I want?
  2. Do I have clarity on why those results are crucial and have I communicated the “why” to my team?
  3. Have I prioritized regular face-to-face check-ins with team members to build trust and connection?
  4. Do I model vulnerability and openness in how I communicate with employees? 
  5. When was the last time I praised someone on my team? Do I validate honest effort and risk-taking in addition to accomplishments? 
  6. Do I tend to micromanage work initiatives, or do I allow my employees to spread their wings? 
  7. When was the last time my team connected in a non-transactional way? (i.e., building our relationships instead of working toward a specific objective or project). Do we have regular opportunities to build rapport?

Reflect and Apply

What do you consider the most important quality of a great leader? Share your answer to one of the questions above with us on Twitter using #LeadersGuidetoInspiration. 

About the author

Noelle is a content creator, author, and editor. She lives in Idaho with her husband, two sons, and two cats. When she's not writing, she's either reading a good book or scaring herself with true-crime documentaries.

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