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Inspire to Lead and Lead to Inspire

Apr 15, 2008
Inspiration comes at both ends of the leadership equation. Leaders are called to guide and lead from many different directions but there is always an element of emotion and inspiration. The call to act as a motivator, guide, teacher, and mentor is usually the first step in a process whereby an individual begins a journey to lead.

Many leaders describe this as an inner need to share their vision and influence it's emergence into the world. While it may be a product or an idea or a service, this vision is deeply held and difficult to contain. The decision to lead is a natural progression once the individual finds the confidence and commitment to step up and accept responsibility for the direction of others.

Feeling the inspiration that tells someone, "I can be a leader, I can motivate and direct others to fulfill my vision," is a step that most people do not take lightly. There is a degree of security and safety in being a follower, even in being a very involved follower. But leaders are inspired to take risks and put themselves on the line everyday.

Our great social and political leaders have all had to make tremendous sacrifices in order to lead and many people question why they are so motivated to lead when the costs can be so great. The answer is simple,the inspiration to lead was irresistible. When you feel your message so strongly that the costs and consequences pale in comparison, you are destined to lead. The business owner invests both emotional and material interests to bring their message to light. They too are moved by an irresistible impulse to lead.

At every staff meeting, every sales consultation, at every conference a leader is called upon to influence those around them. Being the boss isn't always an enviable position and the stress associated with being the boss is not for the faint of heart. But a true leader finds conflict challenging, dissent motivating, and loyalty truly precious. And the reward they seek is seeing their message become reality through decision and action. This is where the second part of the equation comes into the formula, leading to inspire.

Being a follower may have a negative connotation but followers are not mindless sheep. They have strong opinions and viewpoints and are very discerning. They can tell an authentic leader from a figurehead a mile away. The mark of the truly authentic leader is the feeling and excitement that they inspire in their followers.

The ability to inspire others, to bring them to join in their journey, and help them realize their potential is the hallmark of authentic leadership. Genuine leadership has a tangible quality where excitement can be felt and the risk taking leader motivates others to share in their risks. Indeed, inspiration has a reciprocal quality. A leader is inspired to lead, a follower is inspired by a leader, and the inspiration becomes mutual.

An employee can become a contributor and partner when the quality of a leader's message comes through in a persuasive and moving manner. Haven't we all had moments when we are listening and the moment of understanding and enthusiasm overtakes us and we become a partner in the message? It is a moment of excitement and comprehension that has the unique ability to turn followers into partners and then into a "co-leader."

When leadership becomes collaborative the leadership/inspiration equation is complete. The message becomes self renewing and the energy it produces fuels its mission. Those inspired to lead have inspired others and the magic of emotive reasoning becomes reality. It is indeed the foundation of any group process and what can translate in success for any organization.
About the Author
Melissa Vokoun is a successful Business Advisor, Coach and Trainer. To learn more about the services available, please visit the website at: http://www.coachingqueen.com or call 847-392-6886.
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