Last updated on December 26th, 2023 at 08:00 pm

If you’ve ever worked a job with a mediocre boss, then you know firsthand there’s a big difference between being in a leadership position and being a truly great leader. In many ways, the quality of leadership can have a major impact on the success of a team or even an entire company.

If you aspire to be the best leader you can be, it may be time to focus on your inspirational leadership skills. But what exactly does it mean to be an inspirational leader, and what can you do to adopt this leadership style? We dive deeper into the concept of inspirational leadership, some key traits of these leaders, and tips for fostering this type of leadership style in your own career.

Unraveling the Concept of Inspirational Leadership

What is inspirational leadership, anyway? The concept has been around for a while, but this term only recently started making its way into the mainstream. Specifically, inspirational leadership refers to the ability to motivate and inspire others to perform their best.

Anybody can be an inspirational leader, but the traits of these types of leaders are most often exemplified by direct supervisors and managers of smaller teams. The idea behind inspirational leadership is that you practice what they preach, demonstrating by example the kind of mindset and work ethic other team members should carry out on the job.

Key Characteristics of Inspirational Leaders

Now that you better understand the concept of inspirational leadership, what kinds of traits and characteristics does an inspiring leader typically possess? While this varies a bit from one person to the next, several key traits an inspiring leader will exemplify include:

  • Passion – These leaders are genuinely enthusiastic about the work they do and the projects their teams undertake.
  • Optimism – The most inspirational leaders are those who can remain positive under nearly any circumstance; they tend to see the bright side of things and look for ways to provide constructive criticism when needed.
  • Authenticity – Inspirational leaders are seen as genuine and authentic by others. They have strong beliefs and values—and they aren’t afraid to stick to them.
  • Desire to grow and learn – The best leaders are always looking for ways to grow and learn. They don’t believe they have all the answers, and they’re open-minded enough to listen to others’ thoughts and opinions.

The Impact of Inspirational Leadership on Workplace Innovation

Having inspirational leaders within an organization can benefit the company and its teams in many ways, from improving employee engagement and productivity to encouraging innovation.

Boosting Employee Engagement

Inspirational leaders bring their own enthusiasm and excitement to the table—and it’s contagious. Combined with a great leader’s natural charisma, this makes it easy to get team members sincerely motivated and excited about the work they’re doing. As a result, teams with inspirational leaders tend to have higher rates of employee engagement and satisfaction as well as more productive teams overall.

Encouraging a Culture of Creativity and Innovation

In addition, inspirational leaders are effective at motivating employees to get creative, brainstorm, and come up with ideas. Because they’re able to cultivate a sense of acceptance and open-mindedness within the workplace, employees feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. This, in turn, can lead to incredible innovations that set a company apart from others.

How Does Inspirational Leadership Foster Goal Achievement?

As you could have probably guessed, inspirational leadership is also ideal for encouraging employees to achieve goals and meet deadlines. The positivity, passion, and authenticity an inspirational leader brings to the table rubs off on other employees, leading them to feel more motivated and productive themselves. Likewise, these leaders are more likely to have the strong and effective communication skills needed to keep team members on the same page (and thus on track) with their projects.

Due to all these factors, employees with inspirational leaders are more likely not just to meet but exceed their goals.

The Role of Mentoring in Developing Inspirational Leaders

One of the most important things to understand if you aspire to be an inspirational leader is that it’s not something you can achieve alone. Nearly all inspiring leaders have, at some point, been mentored by others in their respective fields. So, what exactly is the role of mentoring in developing an inspirational leader?

Fostering a Growth Mindset Through Mentorship

Some of the most notable wisdom a leader stands to gain through mentorship is a growth mindset from other inspirational leaders who have come before them. Ultimately, achieving and maintaining that mentality of constantly growing, improving, and learning will have the most significant and lasting impact on employees. This progressive outlook isn’t something you can simply pick up overnight; instead, it is learned over the course of many months and best learned directly from a mentor figure.

Building Trust and Authenticity With Mentoring

Mentors are also an excellent source of other key skills and traits of an inspirational leader, such as trust and authenticity. If you’ve ever had a boss who came across as less-than-genuine, then you probably know personally how difficult it can be to trust a leader who does not seem authentic.

Working with a mentor who has already gained the trust of their team members is a great way to see firsthand what a difference that level of authenticity makes in the team-building process. Aspiring leaders can then gain a better sense of how to go about building that authenticity so they are easier to approach and trust as leaders themselves.

Notable Inspirational Leaders and Their Contributions to Innovation

In developing your own inspirational leadership skills, it can be helpful to have a real-life mentor you can turn to for advice and guidance. However, it can also be useful to consider some of the world’s best examples of inspirational leadership and what they have done to foster innovation in their work.

One of the most noteworthy inspiring leaders to consider is Richard Branson, founder of the global growth investment company Virgin Group. His boldness, versatility, and authenticity have made him an approachable and relatable leader to his team members. This, in turn, has fostered open-minded and creative thinking that has led Virgin Group to some incredible innovations that have ranged from Orbit rockets to eco-friendly mass transport systems.

How Can You Develop Your Inspirational Leadership Skills?

If you’re serious about taking your leadership skills to the next level by adopting an inspirational leadership style, keep in mind some tips and best practices.

Steps to Becoming an Inspirational Leader

While there is no foolproof series of steps that will automatically result in you becoming an inspiring leader, there are a few things that can help you develop your skills and learn how to motivate employees.

It all starts with getting to know and understand your own values and core beliefs. From how you go about interacting with and respecting others to how hard you work, your core values are ultimately what make you stand out as a leader.

From there, getting to know your team makes all the difference. There is no “blanket” method for leading and inspiring a group of employees. Unless you take the time to get to know each member of your team, you can’t take that personalized approach that is so critical to motivating employees and gaining their respect.

All of this, combined with offering support and taking responsibility for mistakes when warranted, can help you become a more inspirational leader over time.

Are You Ready to Inspire and Innovate as a Leader?

As you can see, adopting an inspirational leadership style is often the first step to making a real difference within a team. From motivating and inspiring others to improving engagement and keeping projects on track, the things you can achieve as an inspirational leader are nearly limitless.

Looking to work on your leadership and management skills while working toward an advanced degree? Salem University offers a Master of Business Administration in Sales Management degree program that prepares you to cultivate, mentor, and guide teams to bring out the best in each employee. Get in touch to learn more about this program—or start your online application today.

Tags: , , , ,

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts