The word INSPIRE as defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary means “to make someone feel that they want to do something and can do it”. To get the best out of your team, friends, families, colleagues, etc., you must INSPIRE.
To inspire people, you must have the following qualities:
Show and be an example
Integrity simply means “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” as described by dictionary.com. It is also doing the right thing when nobody is looking.
Most people are watchful of your actions, especially as a leader or when you are a person of repute. It’s been said that a man of integrity is a man of his word; simply put, his NO is his NO and his YES is his YES. A person of integrity is an honest individual, with unquestionable character, who is committed to inspiring people to be the very best they can be. In teams, once an individual is considered as a person of integrity, he or she becomes the go to person for a reliable assessment of a matter and/or an objective view in a decision making process. Integrity is borne from a foundation of strong moral values and principles. When people know your stance on matters, know that your words and actions are aligned to strong morals and principles, and that you want the best for them, you become believable and that is how you start to build integrity. Integrity is an action! When people discover that you are a person of integrity, they will be inspired by your work. Today, start to build integrity in your team by encouraging an atmosphere of truth.
To inspire people, you must be nurturing. Nurturing simply means “the act of encouraging, nourishing and caring for someone or something”. Within your sphere of influence, you must nurture people- nurture their talents, nurture their strengths, nurture their weaknesses to become strengths, and nurture who they are as individuals, so that they can grow up into mature and stable people of great value. It is said that women are nurturers by nature; however, everyone has the innate ability to nurture people, as long as one’s primary desire is to create better individuals. The most important qualities in nurturing is patience and understanding. It is vital that you pay attention to people and their growth pattern. This is because each person has a different pace for learning; there is a time to be gentle and a time to push harder. Nurturing encourages people to shine and be the best.
Show and be an example
Showing an example of your personality is very vital in inspiring people. This simply means that you must be what you say you are. If you say you are a truthful and honest person, then you must exhibit such character. You can’t inspire people by saying “do what I say, not what I do”. To inspire people, you must be in front, you must be the leader, you must show your real self and be truthful to who you are! Showing example can be in two categories; it can either be an example of yourself or of another person who has inspired others. However, the most important form of showing example is the example of oneself. So today, let us start doing as we say.
Having a possibilities mindset means having a can do attitude. This is infectious when positively pushed in the team environment or beyond. In a world that is full of critics and pessimists, having a possibility mindset can be draining sometimes as you lose a lot of energy when you battle against the tide of doubt. However, one must stay focused on the goal and in striving to achieve this, you end up inspiring your team and others. Remember, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible!” – (Audrey Hepburn)
To inspire is to be intelligent. We have two broad headings for this;
Knowledge (improving your IQ): You must expand your knowledge base. You can’t teach people, if you do not have or show some intelligence. You need to improve on your knowledge of global and national matters. I typically use the PESTEL framework in learning more about global events and our country, Nigeria. PESTEL stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors. Also, expand your knowledge of music, art and culture.
People management (Emotional Intelligence): Emotional intelligence is critical in inspiring others. You must be self-aware and manage people daily. Encouraging others and speaking positive words tend to work better on building morale. Also, learn to manage yourself, so you can manage people well.
Respect is very vital in inspiring people. You must show respect to every individual, because everyone deserves to be respected no matter their standing in society. This simple act inspires people, especially when they realize you can be trusted, because you respect them no matter how they fit into society. Respect for people is often not encouraged in societies where the class system is established as a divider between people. However, when you find yourself in such places, reaching across the different class of people, to respect and to honour them is a huge way to inspire. A great example of an individual with this great quality of respect is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the great Indian activist.
You can’t inspire if you don’t show excellence in all you do- your words, your actions etc. Excellence is possessing outstanding quality or superior merit. To inspire, you must show excellence and so, you can’t do things indifferently. To inspire others, you must show that you are passionate about making things work, about making things excellent, and about putting the best foot forward.
Finally, start to inspire by building on these qualities I have shared. When you start to inspire others, you will also be inspired. Remember the saying, “He who sharpens others will also be sharpened.”