One element of recognition often overlooked is encouraging people to do worthwhile things that lead to valuing and recognizing someone.
Being able to inspire people to great accomplishments is an ability we should all strive to learn. But it’s an essential skill to have when you are a leader.
Inspiration is all about filling up people with rousing emotions that you feel about a particular cause or action that you want other people to take on. Interestingly, the Latin root for the word “inspire”, means to breathe upon or into, like the pulmonary meaning of inspiration.
However, to inspire an individual or team to action is not a set of behaviors you may naturally have. Sure, some people you know can make this look easy. Yet, inspiring people requires specific skills that all of us can learn.
Consider the following qualities and behaviors to inspire people.
Great Ways To Inspire Others
1. Inspire others by being a positive example. You can only inspire another person if you are a role model of inspiration yourself. It means being true to living the values you espouse and the values of your organizational culture. It is about integrity and doing what you say you will do so people can count on you.
“The reality is that the only way change comes is when you lead by example.” – Anne Wojcicki
2. Learn to be empathetic to connect with others better. Inspiring people requires that you understand where a person is at right now but seeing the potential of what they can do that they can’t see. Understand and respect their feelings and see if you can encourage them to take just one step up the ladder.
“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes.” – Daniel H. Pink
3. Consistently value and appreciate people. When people know that you appreciate them and value their contributions, they will be more willing to listen to you and respect what you say and ask of them. It’s the consistency and sincerity with the recognition you give that helps people want to follow you as a leader.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
4. Set challenging and realistic expectations that are exciting. Give people a challenge they can rise to and set clear goals just beyond their reach. The goal must be doable by setting them up with the right resources and supports to make it happen.
“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.” – Patricia Neal
5. Create a compelling future vision of a desired action. Leaders that inspire can create a message or visual image of what things will be like if a person takes the steps the leader is asking them to do. Give them the big picture view of what things will be like once they have completed the challenge.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller
6. Give several reasons why you want them to do a specific task. Help the individual or team stir up their own feelings and emotions by giving them multiple reasons to act on the challenging task. One reason might not cut it. Give them several facts and ideas that can help spur them on.
“A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing. One that sounds good, and a real one.” – J. P. Morgan
7. Provide personal support as needed and enlist the support of others. Commit to help them along the way when they ask for it but let them do as much as they can on their own. At the same time arrange access to whatever departmental or outside supports they need to assist them with completing the inspiring task.
“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” – Misty Copeland
8. Follow up regularly and provide ongoing encouragement. Inspiration comes by breathing life into the challenging task undertaken. You can do this when you follow up with an employee to ask how things are coming along. You encourage an employee by giving them heart and pumping them up to succeed.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates
To inspire other people, you must inspire yourself. Learn, practice, and improve upon each of the above behaviors so people can feel inspired through you.
Recognition Reflection: Are there skills you need to develop to be more inspiring to your employees and those you work with?
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