Leaders: Do You Inspire… Or Perspire?

Generally speaking, there are two approaches leaders tend to take: Inspiration and Perspiration. Some prefer to inspire their team, energizing their environment and creating positive, engaged workplaces. Others prefer to push things through by making themselves and those around them sweat.

Guess which way is more effective?

Sure, the perspiration approach can give you great results – in the short term. But it doesn’t take long for the relentless driving, pushing and metric-driven micromanaging to start to create Bad Things. Productivity plummets as chronically stressed employees begin to get bitter and burned-out. Ethical behaviour is sidelined as the ‘success-at-any-cost’ mantra takes root. Valuable human assets are lost as employees look to greener pastures. Customer service levels drop as unhappy team members become more focused on themselves than their customers.

Do People Work As Hard With Inspirational Leaders?

No. They work harder. Much harder. And the best part is that they are doing it because they want to – not just because they have to. It’s not an accident that inspirational leaders at every level – from executive, manager and supervisor – are the ones who are promoted the fastest.

What does it take to be an inspirational leader?

There are a lot of books written on the subject, but here are the absolute must-haves:

  • Energy & Passion: Every minute of every day. It’s a lot of work.
  • Positive Focus: Celebrate things that are going right – instead of dwelling on what’s gone wrong
  • Teaching: When things do go wrong, use the opportunity to introduce new skills to your team
  • Incredibly High Standards: Non-negotiable. Everyone knows what is expected of them. Substandard performance is always addressed (by teaching, whenever possible)
  • Vision: Understanding the transcendent purpose of the work – the things people can champion and be proud of.

 So, maybe the question is – which kind of leader are you?

Good Luck!

Shaun Belding


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