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Leadership: be the future; don’t just talk about it…

I recently spent some time in Hilton Head, SC with my family recharging and refocusing. Although the company and the scenery were more than inspiring enough to me, I came across the following article “6 Steps to Become Amazingly Inspirational” by Mr. Simon Stapleton, July 18, 2012 and would like to share its message.

In his article, Mr. Stapleton states:

“When you inspire someone, you give them the gifts of belief, motivation and action. People who are inspired carry out a shared will. It is the greatest form of leadership”.

His article then lists the following as the key steps to inspire:

1. Really believe in something.

Unless you’re an amazing actor with endless energy, you will never inspire others without beliefs. Your belief will shine through to others. Perhaps you believe that your business can grow by 100% this year. Or maybe you can solve that problem where everyone else has failed?

2. Paint a clear vision of an amazing future.

Create a lens into the future, using simple words and pictures that everyone involved can share and understand. Your vision must be breath-taking, and not beyond comprehension. Your vision must be a future possibility that you and your people can be immersed in, relish, and love.

3. Set goals beyond what people expect.

If your objectives are humdrum or easily within reach, then your inspiration is diluted. Nobody else will share your passion! The future vision you share must be ‘great’ and seem achievable ‘against all odds’. You’re looking for inspiration that breaks the mold. Inspiration creates the energy for people to try their hardest and apply tricks new and old to make that future happen.

4. Be the future, don’t just talk about it.

Your people will turn to you as the role-model of your shared vision and future. You must walk-the-walk, as well as talk. One slip and you’ll lose everything. This is one of those rare situations where infallibility is key (although I don’t mean you can’t make mistakes – see below). You must BE rather than DO.

5. Share and celebrate mistakes.

You’re against all odds – and there will be failures. Your people will be nervous, but willing. Accommodating failure and learning from it must be part of the way things are done, or else few will be willing to try. Celebrate your mistakes, because at least you tried.

6. Be ruthlessly selfless.

Supporting your people is critical. You must be generous with your time and resources, and put their needs first. You need to be in the trenches with your troops, as well as being the general. You’re a role model – so people will learn from your behaviors (and this ain’t possible if you’re sat behind a desk or in an ivory tower.)

Thank-you, Mr. Stapleton. Now let’s all go out and be the future.

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