This article looks at inspiration and trust and as a leader whether we are inspiring those around u, and gaining the trust of those that follow us. We will look at a few different areas including the concept of inspiration and the relation to leadership, the four different phases of a high energy, higher resonance organization, some workplace examples, and how we may be stacking up as leaders.
So, what does inspiration mean? To me this is a skill that all leaders need to learn. Inspiration itself is a feeling that emotionally will move people in one way or another. It is good to know that inspiration is not for the lazy of heart but can provide a pathway into diversity in creativity for organizations. Inspiration can also come from many different places and is different for every individual, but it can also bring about passion in an individual and a commitment.
According to Folkman & Zenger (2013) to inspire people there are certain things that leaders need to do. These include spending time developing those around them; engaging with others in a collaborative manner; encouraging others to be more innovative and to stretch the goals within their teams. Inspiring leaders also need to have emotional connections with their subordinates; they need to be changed champions within their organization; they should have effective communication skills and are often perceived as a role model. So how do these inspiring leaders do it you ask? They start with communicating a vision that is compelling and draws people in. They continue to challenge their teams and encourage them to find new and innovative ways. When there is enthusiasm in the team the inspiring leader will leverage that to aspire to a greater objective and more importantly they meet with team members as a group or even individually.
When you think about inspiration, the source can come from anywhere including passion, vision, communication, trust, and challenging goals. Leigh & Maynard (2012) state that when the source is passion this can provide direction; it can create energy and increase performance; it has the ability to inspire action and others and self; it opens up avenues for creativity which can attract others; it gains loyalty and it can take the organization to the next level. If the source is vision, this vision can be strategic, tactical or personal; but it is important that for every leader the vision must matter to the individual. The communication source is clear and has no emotion and yet provides an image of the vision; it is succinct with audience focus and the leader is charismatic and unafraid to use metaphors. Trust is trusting in yourself and in others while challenging goals means to continue to challenge yourself and others but to also keep moving the goal when one is reached.
Walter (2014) states that there are also unconventional behaviors of inspiring leaders which include continuing to push the individuals deeper and challenging the status quo while playing the devil’s advocate; however, when blame is to be taken the inspiring leader will shoulder the blame and when credit is given, it is given to the others. Other unconventional behaviors of inspiring leaders involves challenging the conventional wisdom and looking at failures as opportunities to continue to learn. These leaders are often great listeners and ensure that the people around them are diverse and also want to innovate and evolve. They will also constantly ask why or why not, and they are not afraid to admit they do not know everything as they know their limits and are not afraid to leave the shop unguarded.
Casullo (2012) states there are also four phases recognized that exists in a high energy, higher resonance organization. These include acknowledgment, accuracy, alignment, and action. The acknowledgment aspect looks at the act of self-admissions and acceptance of a reality of the existing truths within the organization. Acknowledgment also functions as a clarity of values that are seen both professionally within the organization and personally. To ensure that leadership and Associates are aligned with the central mission a value wheel can be used that shows the values of the organizational culture. Ultimately, the process of acknowledgment can lead to the identification of the values of the organization. When it comes to accuracy it is vital in the effort to understand the economic value of aligning personal truths to organizational truths; and when the words and actions taken are in alignment with the expectations of the organizational culture then the alignment is reached. Accuracy will also strengthen the relationships through an understanding of the perceptions of the key players. It is through alignment that the commitment can be intensified and it has the ability to create predictability and capacity. Through predictability if there is a chance that energy transfer is present it will almost always happen and through capacity, an organization can see what the atmosphere is capable of handling. It is good to remember that energy attracts energy and alignment is similar to putting a puzzle together. The execution will occur from the actions that are taken and it is found that skills are needed for different levels of action much like going from a white belt in martial arts to a master. But we must never forget to celebrate the wins as all of this has the ability to increase employee engagement.
There are always areas for improvement within organizations when it comes to inspiration and trust. As leaders change in followers move on these areas must once again be revisited and slowly cultural changes continue to be challenged. Culture will always be the hardest thing to change and it takes time and patience but working in the mode of inspiration is a positive way to change that culture. The question is, are you a leader that inspires others and gains their trust or are you a manager that gives direction?
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Author, Speaker, Project / Program / PMO Thought Leader
Over 20 years project management experience with a passion for helping organizations grow their PMO, their project managers, and their teams. My passion has taken me to the pursuit of a Doctor of Education, as I enjoy seeing the proverbial light bulb come on. I am a believer in continuous growth and improvement, and believe that an organizations culture and environment is what drives the growth of PMOs and all areas, and not the other way around.