Inspired by a hidden secret in leadership styles ?
Have you just come from a boring meeting or party? Do you feel that you have just experienced the most never ending conference call or discussion? Do you feel despondent because you are trying to solve a problem or conflict?
How often do we experience such situations which are simply not filled with happiness and joy and great feelings? On my business journey, I’ve encountered many similar situations to those described above. It’s inevitable I think, because of different leadership styles, personalities, culture differences and changing business goals. The most important question is “How can I deal with it?”
I am really grateful that I received my first leadership lesson quite early, more than 25 years ago by someone who was a mentor in one of my former consulting companies. My mentor gave me a clear answer about how I can deal with boredom, or negative feelings.
” We have to change our inner attitude! It depends all on us, whether it is boring or inspiring. Open your mind, listen and be aware of what is going on around you.”
This answer is truly what is meant by “Inspiration”.
The effect of inspiration can often be experienced as an ” AHA! moment” combined with joyful emotions, great feelings and a sense of satisfaction. All at once I knew: ” I got it!” and ” Yes, that’s it!” and finally ” I’ve found it!” Before this, I couldn’t relate to others when they got an idea to solve a problem and they would exclaim “I Got It!” This was the first time I realised what defined the “AhA” effect.
There are 4 defining attributes of an Aha effect:
- The “AHA!” moment appears suddenly. Without warning, we understand how to solve a problem, or how to move forward in a project, for example, or a great concept or idea just comes to us.
- The solution, or the answer means that the way forward or the process is smooth, easy and elegant.
- There are positive effects on our health as our being is affected by our experiencing joy.
- We are convinced that a solution or next steps are possible. We have a renewed sense of hope and optimism
Looking at what happens before this ” AHA! moment” which can leave us with a wonderful joyful impression that life and business can be so easy!
I observed a lot of things which have a natural impact on inspiration e.g. nature, art, literature, music, architecture and even working in an inspiring environment. I realized that the most important foundation of inspiration is people themselves. People make the difference.
- What people are talking about
- Which words they are using
- How people are speaking
- How people behave
One of the most important influences today is the written word. Can you remember the last book you read which inspired you? Was it a specific sentence, or a special word? Or was it your imagination coming up in your mind when reading the ideas of the author? Have you ever written back to the author saying how much and how he influences you? If you have, then congratulations, you are familiar with being inspired.
Someone is inspiring us.
We are inspired by other people. But often, the other one does not know we are being inspired. In his or her mind, they are not doing something special for us. They are not consciously giving us the inspiration or sparking our ideas, to either solve a problem or making a difference in our business or lives.
Can you imagine how you would feel if you were talking to someone and suddenly they say:
YOU inspired me to do…..,
There are 3 important factors involved in this magical leadership skill:
- “THANK YOU! ” – Our gratitude should be spoken. It is different to being on autopilot and saying ” Thank you” because we learned that saying ” “Thank You” is the right and appropriate way to let others know we are respectful and grateful. Real gratitude comes from a feeling, and it is this kind of ” Thank you” which is coming directly from the heart and makes the difference.
- “YOU inspired me to do…..” – This sentence is one of the most powerful and valuable sentences for motivation and creating an innovative and creative atmosphere. Remember, we get a solution or an idea. The one, who inspired us is getting the best qualified feedback. He or she is recognised as a helper, and has contributed to the growth of a solution or an idea.
- ” Because YOU…” – Give an explanation about what specific word, idea, behaviour or whatever we are inspired by to the person who inspired us. We should be clear about what they specifically said or did to inspire us. It is a powerful and effective to give specific and timely recognition and feedback.
The advantages of giving such feedback are:
- It costs nothing.
- It is not time consuming.
- It is effective.
- It makes you and the other feel good.
- It shows you care.
- It is a great exercise in growing awareness.
Some of my clients say “…this procedure has magical effects .”
Try it at home. Perhaps a little experiment with you and your kids, or friends, or family. They are inspiring us in a great way and see what will happen.. If we think about the ancient greek muses, where muses were ” the key to the good life and goddess of inspiration” we can look for these ” influences” in our world. A lot of “muses” or ” influences “are walking around us today and give us great inspiration. We should let them know.
This great article is one in a huge series which tackles the 6 Biggest Challenges Leaders face according to the Centre For Creative Leaderships Report published 2013 Don’t Miss Out! Sign up here to be notified of our subsequent issues and posts