Dr. Bob Wright | November 2, 2016

Inspire and Ignite :
How to Be a Better Leader

 

When you talk, do the people you’re working with perk up and listen…or do your words fall on deaf ears? Do you feel like you’re constantly yelling or frustrated by the “attitude of apathy” your coworkers or subordinates direct your way?


Maybe it’s time to reconsider your approach and learn how to be a better leader.

Many so-called “leaders” talk and give lip service; they drive through fear and threats of scarcity. They bully, they pout—essentially, they act like big babies, whining until they get their way. Or they act like big toddlers, bossing around their peers and threatening to take things away and punish if they don’t get the results they want.

Don’t believe me? Look at our current political climate (or take a step back and look at the climate in your own office). Are all the people in charge inspiring confidence or are they fearmongering? This climate of fear and stress is an epidemic in many workplaces throughout our country and it’s taking a toll on both workers and leaders alike. People in positions of authority are making themselves miserable and they don’t know how to fix it.

This mismanagement and bossy leadership is particularly rampant in middle management. It’s indicative of people in positions of supervision, but without the autonomy to really affect the change and inspire the kind of work they need to extract from their team. It’s a sign of someone losing his or her grip on control—control they often didn’t need to grasp onto to begin with.

Bully management and demeaning bossiness isn’t real leadership. You might get your team to perform, but inside you know they aren’t fulfilled and they won’t embrace the work as their own. They’ll perform on a mediocre level, phoning it in and doing what you demand, but never taking any steps to go above and beyond.

You’ve got to put the heart and soul back into your team. It’s likely they don’t understand their purpose or share your vision, which are the keys to great performance. Unlocking our purpose inspires us to greatness.

As leaders we will either instill confidence, or we will instill fear and doubt.

Which kind of leader do you want to be?

Taking the Steps to Be a Better Leader

If you’re wondering how to be a better leader, the first step is realizing leadership requires more than simply a loud mouth and cockiness or making a list of demands. You don’t have to be bossy to be a boss.

Leaders don’t have to know it all (or even half). I know many great leaders, CEOs and directors who don’t know half of the technical stuff their staff knows. Yet, they inspire them to perform at a high level, and they get results. They understand the importance of a team. They hire people who know what they’re doing and take pride in their work. They don’t micromanage or nitpick, but they step back and give employees the chance to rise to greatness.

The secret of how to be a better leader is to have a solid grasp on what makes people tick. If we look at great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Vince Lombardi and John F. Kennedy, we can see they were great because they understood their audience. They had a great deal of social and emotional intelligence.

They lead by inspiration, not by force.

Does inspiring leadership come naturally? No, of course not! Leadership is a skill that’s learned and built upon. It comes from learning how to help people evolve and transform; leadership grows from helping people find their own greatness within and discovering ways to extract that greatness and apply it.

Unless you directly report to the CEO (or are the CEO), chances are you report to someone, and they report to someone above them. In this chain of reporting and accountability, we all strive to make ourselves appear important. We’re longing for the acknowledgment, praise, and reception of our work indicating we’re special, unique and indispensable.

The real secret to great leadership isn’t in letting go of this longing or yearning to be special and important. The real secret in how to be a great leader is the realization that if your team looks great, YOU look great. If your team succeeds, you all succeed! So rather than focusing on climbing up the ladder by stepping on those below you, you must focus on how to lift up everyone—how to elevate the entire office.

Raising Your E.Q.

Where does the ability to engage with others, transform and elevate those around you come from? It’s a direct result of your social and emotional intelligence. You might have a PhD from MIT or an MBA from Harvard, but if you don’t have the emotional intelligence you need, you’ll never be an effective leader.

Transformational leaders understand this and they work to evoke their empathy in all their interactions. They share their vision with the team—not the vision they want for themselves or the way they want the company to grow for their own personal gain—but the vision they have for everyone involved. They find ways to bring out the success in every single member of their office, from the intern and the entry-level clerk to the CFO and the Chairman of the Board. They listen and they learn. It’s not about the money, the power or the fame—it’s about making a difference in the lives they touch.

No matter what you do in your business—whether you’re a teacher, an artist, a software developer or a lawyer, you can lead others by exploring what makes them tick. You can find success by figuring out where the overlap happens in the Venn diagram of your success and vision, and the vision of your customers, clients, and coworkers. How does the widget you make or the service you perform make the world a better place?

Understanding things on an intellectual level isn’t enough. You have to connect with the emotions, the empowerment—the heart of what you’re doing. You have to engage with others.


“Many people, including some very smart people, have a lot going on in their minds but are unable to translate all this mental activity into action. Or they take action, but only within the confines of their regular routines, rarely doing or saying anything that varies from what they’ve always done or said. In these situations, it’s very difficult to take action in ways that are congruent with their yearning, to experience emotional involvement in their words and deeds and to learn and grow.

If you need further evidence that real engaging is worth the effort, consider that prominent scientists offer highly motivating evidence that you have to engage in two distinct areas—feeling and doing. They make it clear that intellectual engagement is insufficient. You have to recognize and honor your emotions and get off your kiester and act!” from Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


In other words, you can’t lead, inspire or bring forth your vision by reasoning it to death. You have to bring others on board and explore things with them on an emotional level. You have to ignite, excite, impassion and get them involved to take things to knock your entire team up a notch (or several)!

For more on how you can bring out your best leadership skills and become a stronger leader wherever you are, please visit www.wrightliving.com. Go forth and make the world a better place! Join us for our next Foundations Weekend Training to jumpstart your social and emotional intelligence.

 


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

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