Seven Secrets of Inspirational Leaders
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American business professionals are uninspired.
Surprised? Don't be. The fact is, only 10% of employees look forward to going
to work and most point to a lack of leadership as the reason why, according to a
recent Maritz Research poll. "But it doesn't have to be that way. All business
leaders have the power to inspire, motivate, and positively influence the people
in their professional lives," according to a recent story in BusinessWeek
Carmine Gallo, a communications coach and author, and the focus of this
article--did his own research, and in his new book, Fire Them Up!,
reveals techniques common to the leaders who best know how to inspire their
employees, colleagues, customers, and investors.
I'm often asked to define and identify the qualities and attributes of great
leaders. I think Gallo has pretty much nailed it.
Techniques to help you inspire and motivate your employees, colleagues,
For the past year, Carmine Gallo has been interviewing renowned leaders,
entrepreneurs, and educators--from different backgrounds, generations and
industries--who have an extraordinary ability to sell their vision, values, and
Together, they possess all the tools he believes "you need to transform
yourself into an extraordinary, electrifying, and enthusiastic leader who
communicates with power, passion, confidence and charisma!"
After studying their communications "secrets", Gallo came up with seven
techniques that he believes can easily be adopted in your own professional
communications with your employees, clients, and investors.
1. Demonstrate enthusiasm--constantly
Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do. You cannot
inspire unless you're inspired yourself. Period. Passion is something that can't
be taught. You either have passion for your message or you don't. Once you
discover your passion, make sure it's apparent to everyone within your
"Richard Tait sketched an idea on a napkin during a cross-country flight, an
idea to bring joyful moments to families and friends. His enthusiasm was so
infectious that he convinced partners, employees, and investors to join him. He
created a toy and game company called Cranium." "Walk into its Seattle
headquarters," Gallo says, "and you are hit with a wave of fun, excitement, and
engagement the likes of which is rarely seen in corporate life. It all started
with one man's passion."
2. Articulate a compelling course of action
Inspiring leaders craft and deliver a specific, consistent, and memorable
vision. A goal such as "we intend to double our sales by this time next year,"
is not inspiring. Neither is a long, convoluted mission statement destined to be
tucked away and forgotten in a desk somewhere.
A vision is a short (usually 10 words or less), vivid description of what the
world will look like if your product or service succeeds.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer once said that shortly after he joined the company,
he was having second thoughts. Bill Gates and Gates' father took Ballmer out to
dinner and said he had it all wrong. They said Ballmer saw his role as that of a
bean counter for a startup. They had a vision of putting a computer on every
desk, in every home. That vision--a computer on every desk, in every
home--remains consistent to this day. The power of a vision set everything in
3. Sell the benefit
Always remember, it's not about you, it's about them. In Gallo's first class
at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, he 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.
Gallo was working with one of the largest producers of organic food in the
country. He couldn't recall most, if any, of the data they used to prove organic
is better. But he remembered a story a farmer told. He said when he worked for a
conventional grower, his kids could not hug him at the end of the day when he
got home. His clothes had to be removed and disinfected. Now, his kids can hug
him as soon as he walks off the field. No amount of data can replace that story.
"And now guess what I think about when I see the organic section in my local
grocery store?", he says." "You got it. The farmer's 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 your 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. Your people 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. Robert Noyce, the co-founder of
Intel said, "Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the
individual favor change over security?" 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. Richard
Branson has said that when you praise people they flourish; criticize them and
they shrivel up. Praise is the easiest way to connect with people. When people
receive genuine praise, their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar. Encourage
people and they'll walk through walls for you.
By inspiring your listeners, you become the kind of person people want to be
around. Customers will want to do business with you, employees will want to work
with you, and investors will want to back you. It all starts with mastering the
language of motivation
About the Author
Les Gore is founder and managing partner of Executive Search International, a
Boston-based, nationally recognized search firm and a 25-year veteran of the
"recruiting wars" www.execsearchintl.com.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-15 17:38:06 in Personal Articles