The #1 Quality of Leaders Who Inspire Us
You don’t need rank, title, or formal authority to inspire people.
I’m inspired by anyone who sweats to reach high. I’m inspired when I see our kids and grandchildren striving to master sports, music, art, math, marriage, parenting, or work.
People who struggle to make a difference take my breath away.
Aspiration combined with perspiration makes you beautiful. Apathy offends your potential. But there’s more.
Inspirational leaders enable people to try new things, achieve new goals, and become their best selves. Average leaders get conformity. Inspirational leaders breathe life into the world.
- Stir the embers of belief into flame.
- Feed innate desires for meaning.
- Bolster courage to climb new mountains.
- Enable pursuit.
7 qualities to earn a spot at the table where inspirational leaders sit.
- Quiet grit. Glitter is optional. Quiet grit is essential.
- Love. Hate makes you ugly. Serving the best interest of others makes you delightful.
- Vulnerability. Fakers offend us; they can’t inspire.
- Engagement. Standing aloof disgusts people doing real work. Get dirty.
The #1 quality of leaders who inspire us:
Self-sacrifice inspires people.
Self-limiting cliches include, “I have to take care of myself,” and, “I have to do what’s best for me.” There’s a bigger truth. Inspirational people take care of others and do what’s best for the community.
The needs of the community surpass the needs of individuals. What’s good for the community outweighs what’s good for an individual.
Selfcare is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Take care of yourself SO YOU CAN take care of others.
Toes are important, but apart from community you’re a toe without a body.
People who serve the greater good inspire us. People who serve themselves and neglect others build small lives, even if they get ahead.
What quailities of inspirational leaders might you add?
What quality is most important to you?
How to be the Inspirational Leader you Aspire to Become
How to Be an Inspiring Leader (hbr.org)
Afterword: You may be in a place where self-care takes priority. You’re in a place where the community serves you. This explains why community is more important than the individual.
Awesome Dan – one of your best ever!
Thanks John. Steady on!
I’m leaning to “Courage”, Love”, as my top two. I believe they work hand in hand.
Being a good Listener so we understand the issues to Lead.
Patience comes in as well as we know somethings take time not immediate solutions.
Thanks Tim. I can see where courage without love can be dangerous and how love without courage can be useless.
“Aspiration combined with perspiration makes you beautiful.” This entire post is excellent, but I latched onto this sentence – thank you for sharing such a great perspective.
Thanks Travis. My wife and I are watching the talent show American Idol. Sometimes I cry when I see the contestants working hard and thriving. It’s just beautiful to me. I appreciate your feedback.
“Selfcare is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Take care of yourself SO YOU CAN take care of others.”
I really appreciate this point, and I think it’s important that we emphasize that selfcare IS part of being a leader (provided, as you said, it’s in service of something greater). Too often, we focus on the self-sacrifice part of leadership, and yes that’s part of it, but if you solely self-sacrifice, you drain yourself and have nothing to give. I’m a regular reader, love what you do Dan, but I will say (respectfully!) I think here you’re bordering right on the edge of glorifying that self-sacrifice without also stressing the importance of taking care of ourselves. If we burn out, we can’t do our jobs. And if we burn out, we send the message to others that we expect them to burn out too. So yes, self-sacrifice. But balanced with the self-care that allows us to keep it going and sustain. Either one without the other will ultimately fail you.
Thanks for the thoughtful work that inspires discussion. I appreciate all you do!
Appreciating your message about qualities of inspiring leaders, Dan. Part of love is appreciation and acceptance of individual differences . My most memorable mentors and teachers have been those who accepted and still stretched me by believing in my potential, even when my own faith may have been pretty shaky. May we all do this with those in our groups.
With gratitude for your always inspiring messages Dan Rowcliffe. My favorite inspiring mentors and leaders have stretched me by reminding me of my potential. even when I felt shaky about skills that they saw in me. As leaders we need to do likewise using that subtle blend of faith and love in them.