5 Tips for Inspiring Leadership

Guest post from Karlin Sloan:


As a leadership development consultant, I have spent my career with people in business, NGOs, government, and not-for-profits who are focused, competent, talented and who have a
deep sense of their personal power to impact those around them.  Recently, those same people are having doubts. They doubt their ability to lead their companies through increasingly challenging times. They doubt their ability to protect their loved ones in a world experiencing ecological, health and social crises. And they doubt our collective human family’s ability to solve the problems facing us on a global scale. 

Our organizations, both large and small, are facing the need to adapt to rapid change that is not predictable or particularly controllable. If those who lead us are in doubt, then who can we turn to to inspire us, to calm our fears, and to build a path to a better future? How will we effectively address immense changes as individuals, groups, organizations, and as a world community? There is no more important time for inspiring leadership. 

Inspiring leaders are those who practice ‘alignment’.  They are leaders who cultivate personal and organizational openness, adaptability, and meaning. They are leaders who practice confidence in our ability to create a positive outcome no matter what the circumstance. They are the ones who will get us there.  They are capable of aligning themselves to their higher purpose and inspiration, aligning others to a shared goal, and to aligning resources to get the job done.

Here are five tips to create alignment in yourself and your organization, with the goal of being a truly inspiring leader:

Tip #1 – Accept Reality and Focus on the Future

Accepting reality and focusing on the future is sometimes easier said than done.  “Jamie” is a successful entrepreneur who I’ve known for many years.  During the first three months of the Covid-19 shutdown, she’s had to cope with some very difficult realities, including the fact that her booming events-based business was in deep trouble.

Tip #2 – View Challenges as Opportunities

Reframing is the capability to look at your reality from new frames of reference. If you viewed the challenges of present circumstances as an opportunity for the future, what would it look like? 

Tip #3 – Build Relationship and Community

The most inspiring leaders know that we all need each other, and that during times of stress and change we need to feel connected and part of something larger than ourselves. Despite social isolation we need to be ever more present to each other. Part of the leader’s role is to reach out individually and collectively to boost morale and allow people to express their concerns and their ideas. 

Tip #4 – Practice Physical and Mental Discipline

In order to cultivate peak performance we need discipline. Regular daily practices keep us grounded, focused, positive, and healthy. These may be as simple as taking a short morning walk, listening to music that inspires you, reading or working out. Anything that you can establish as a healthy ritual optimizes your performance in other areas of life. My favorite ritual I’ve heard this week – say no to doing something at least once per day. 

Tip#5 – Remember a Bigger Purpose

Every organization has a core purpose for being. Every brand that is driven by purpose has the capacity to connect directly to a customer need. As a leader, it’s your job to bring people back to why they are working in the first place. What is most important about the services or products you provide? What is important about each and every team member’s contribution? 

Times of change bring out the best and the worst, and inspiring leaders focus on the best of themselves and others.

Karlin Sloan is a global leadership & development coach, CEO of Sloan Group Internationaland author of new book, Inspiring Leadership for Uncertain Times.

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