What Effective Leaders Do

Carmine Gallo wrote in Business Week about, “The Seven Secrets of Inspiring Leaders” reflecting on research by Maritz Research which found that only 10% of employees look forward to going to work. The main reason? A lack of leadership. While Gallo was conducting research for the book, Fire Them Up the following seven practices were shown to result in inspirational communication:

1. Demonstrate enthusiasm — consistently. “Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do. You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Period. Passion is something I can’t teach. 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 professional circle.”

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.”

3. Sell the benefit. “Always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. In a Journalism class, I 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 leaders appreciate the power of stories to connect with their audiences… No amount of data can replace that 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 the organization. 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. Employees 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… 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.”

No leader accomplishes a vision alone. Inspiration is critical to rally people to make the journey and to commit the time and energy required to bring a vision to pass. These seven techniques present some great ways to inspire and motivate people to greatness.

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