We don't have to wait for a New Year to seize the opportunity to launch out on a new path or new direction. We often respond to the freshness of a New Year by making a list of resolutions, which are often short lived. Rather than making a list of resolutions why not focus your attention in one area and settle on one thing in that area and do it well. We don't have to wait until January to do this, we can begin at any time during the calendar year. As an example, let's take leadership as a focus and identify "inspirational leadership" as a specific quality for attention.
The word inspiration has its root in Latin and originally had a deep spiritual meaning relating to divine guidance. Applying the word to "inspirational leadership" means you become a guiding light for others to follow. You become an example or a model for others; you stimulate, encourage and lift up the spirits of others.
Inspirational leaders inspire followers. They have a certain charisma, an aura about them that lights the fire within the hearts and minds of others. Followers place their trust in them and want to imitate their behaviours because they inspire them to do so.
I can think of numerous inspirational leaders who have graced our world, such as: Jesus Christ, Saint Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, Sir Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. These leaders inspired people of their time and continue to inspire us today. Through their inspiration they created movements that changed the course of history. I don't want to put limits on our potential but realistically the majority of us will not achieve the same status as these giants of inspirational leadership. Most of us, however, can become "everyday" inspirational leaders.
Think about the people in your life who never made the news, wrote a book, had someone write their biography, or stood way above the crowd, yet they inspire you to become a better person, reach higher levels of performance, or improve the way you do things. You feel blessed as a result just by knowing them. These are the "everyday" inspirational leaders. Here are some of my own examples of people who have inspired me:
These people are "everyday" inspirational leaders. They inspire, not because they amass great sums of tangible assets but, because they radiate those illusive intangible qualities worthy of imitating.
Action: As you ponder on how you can strengthen your inspirational leadership style, use your models - the ones who inspire you - and pick out the intangible quality that you can strengthen in the coming year. Clearly identify it, and ask yourself how you will measure your progress. When this quality becomes ingrained in the way you act you will become more of an inspiration to others - you will be on the road to becoming the "everyday inspirational leader" you are meant to be.
Author: Richard P. Fontanie MSW, FCMC - Up-dated from the archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions.
Note: Photo by M. O'Neill