When innovative thinking is at the helm, you can be sure that at its core is inspirational leaders. Real leaders have our back, and stand up for doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. At a time when we are surrounded by the forces of darkness and authoritarian strong men, we owe to ourselves, our communities, our countries and the world to stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight to preserve the freedoms many of us have come to take for granted. Make your voices heard. Democracy dies in silence.
Innovative leaders shape positive behavior, communitarianism as well as business practices. Under this form of stewardship, optimism and gratitude prevail.
To dig deeper into this question, I often chair seminars on leadership among aspiring professionals. I want to see what and who inspires them. Participants chose to discuss community leaders as well as CEOs. Many of these leaders are known for their charisma, accountability, and legacy.
Seminar participants agree that innovative leaders do more than just post good quarterly results. They are passionate, conscientious, and above all, have a moral compass. Best of all, they recognize that anyone can assume a leadership role, providing they lead with their hearts as well as their minds. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a perfect example of what inspirational leadership can achieve.
Often the most neglected skills stem from not understanding the power of emotional intelligence.
EI demands intuitive intelligence and empathy. Take for example, the issue of motivation. How can you get staff to reach beyond their limits? Show empathy and encouragement. Some managers just focus on problems. Why drive errors into a state of culpability? Innovative leadership points out mistakes. It is called constructive criticism. Remember, nobody sets out to fail. The best corporate and political cultures build initiatives and mentorship into their working practices. They do not instigate heartbreak and rip children out of the hands of their mothers.
However, in risk-averse environments, team players remain cautious. They never step out of the box. They do not want to be penalized. Senior management can be so hard pressed for bottom line results that they establish a set of “red line” rules. Such rules never generate effective results. Managerial intentions should be clear. Resolve issues when they arise so that they do not become handicaps. Benchmarking milestones should keep most projects on track. This is the hallmark of nurturing innovative and real leaders.
The Roving Electron Theory
Call this procedure detection and resolution. Negative thinking patterns will alter the ambiance in any work environment. Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset where individuals are praised when it is deserved can reverse this process. Corporate culture can sometimes be debilitating. Why not inculcate aspirational values rather than despair?
Ever notice that negativity is contagious? One colleague of mine referred to this dilemma as that of the roving electron. It embodies the lack of leadership.
A roving electron is a concept from physics. By nature it is unpredictable. Because it can not be controlled, it generates positive or negative outcomes. From an organizational standpoint, you can see why weak leaders would fear such individuals. For example, if someone suggests trying out a new idea, the typical response is: “That is not the way we do things at Yoyo Inc.”
Firms that nurture this psychosis become hidebound and sclerotic. New is seen as threatening to the power structure. Creative talent will run away from such organizations. Problems under these conditions do not dissipate. They only expand in equal proportion to the negative “cannot do” environment.
Inspirational leaders know the key elements of team building practices.
If you doubt this, read former President Barack Obama’s speech published in the New Yorker delivered at a commemoration ceremony for Nelson Mandela. Obama’s words sparkle because they have vision and feed the collective spirit with positive thinking. His words give hope, value, and purpose. Steve Jobs did likewise. Watch his commencement address on Youtube delivered at Stanford.
Please note however, that leaders do critique. They do so with an eye to positive growth not to chastise. The acknowledgment of errors is important. Then, the group moves on. Why? Because they know that there is a shared sense of objectives. The positive aura can be felt. Everyone recognizes that whatever his or her input, there is appreciation. Real leaders understand that the power of gratitude comes from deep within the human heart.
Inspirational Leadership Follows A Path Of Gratitude
How many of us have shown deep gratitude for all that we have? How many of us have given thanks to our team members for their contributions? Or better still, given thanks for an invisible but guiding hand helping us make the “right” choices?
At a gut level, genuine appreciation is beyond the level of the self.
It is “spirit” and manifests as genuine concern. Great leaders know how to use this quality. The concept of “I” is dropped. In fact, it does not even enter into the equation. It is about giving without even thinking of “return on investment”.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Many business practices stress the 4 P’s: power, prosperity, pomp, and pedigree. This has always been the case, and given the context of human behavior is what drives people most. Self aggrandizement becomes the catalyst to action. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you are motivated to make a genuine difference to your organization or community, why not choose a different path to leadership?
Change your mental prescription
Consider these words: sat, chit, and ananda. Although I broke up this Sanskrit term on purpose, it means: being, awareness, and bliss. It is a concept never breathed in business school although it should constitute a class just by itself. In certain cultures, its value resonates. It represents the basic striving of all human beings inside and outside the workplace.
Why is this so? Because every being wants to be happy. However, it eludes our grasp because we are looking in the wrong place. “Satchinanda” represents your inner state of completeness beyond the balance sheet or political beliefs. It contains a profound sense of integrity, which should be a core value of any leader. In our highly cynical world, most people would state that this is idealist and not feasible. You would be wrong to think so because all it would prove is how you undervalue your self as well as others.
Why not prove the naysayers wrong. Show your team the true value of “optimism” as a vehicle to success.
Great leaders not only know this, but have used this principle for millennium to achieve incredible goals. So can you.
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