What does it take to be an inspiring leader? Positive and perky? Pep talks? High fives?

I was invited by a hall of fame NFL quarterback to give a leadership presentation to his senior management team in their offices. He was building a very successful national company on a high growth trajectory. As we toured the premises, he gave high fives in the hallways and cubicles as he was told about customers just signed on and other achievements. The CEO’s energy, passion, and enthusiatic support was as contagious in the office as on the gridiron.

This CEO’s approach is often what many feel is the recipe for inspiring and motivating others. It certainly worked for him. But does that mean everyone shown try to emulate the Enthusiast approach? Only if it’s authentic and fits their strengths and preferences.

Over the last 15 years, Zenger Folkman’s leadership effectiveness database has grown to  over 1.5 million assessments of 120,000 leaders. ZF analyzed 1,000 leaders with the very highest ratings for Inspires and Motivates Others to determine what approaches made them so much more inspiring.

While not a “silver bullet” for leadership, Inspiring and Motivating Others is the closest competency to being that all powerful solution.

  1. It is most valued by employees
  2. Highly correlated with employee engagement
  3. Best predictor of overall leadership effectiveness

Many people think that inspiring others requires substantial amounts of charisma and enthusiasm. ZF research clearly shows that’s not true. The Enthusiast approach was one of six different approaches they uncovered. But it was only used 14% of the time by these highly inspiring leaders. The other five approaches had equally positive outcomes.

Just as there’s no one recipe for the best dish, the ingredients for highly inspiring leaders can be combined in a variety of ways. Using multiple approaches provides more flexibility and has a greater impact. Like great chefs, highly inspiring leaders use a combination of approaches that match their style, preferences, and what the occasion calls for.

Joe Folkman and Jared Harding presented a highly interactive webinar on 6 Key Ingredients for Inspirational Leadership – Discover Your Personal Recipe. They showed how inspiring leaders have such an impact and the important role they play in organizational success.

Inspired to watch? Click here to view this webinar now.