Inspiring others to follow

My early days learning about leadership seemed to be focused on the fact that a great leader creates inspirational visions that makes others want to follow their lead. I always struggled with this, maybe I could never be a good leader, as I just didn’t have what it took to inspire others to follow me in the way that Shakespeare’s Henry V’s rallying call “Once more unto the breach” did.  Many years later I’ve realised that that a rallying call is a small part of engaging people.  It’s great to be able to put into words what a clear picture of what the future looks like, but it is much more inspiring to team members if they can see that their own thoughts and words have been incorporated into a vision for the team. Last year a post  called “Everyone in that direction now” shared the importance of organisational alignment and creating a vision with your team as being key to achieving the focus that will lead to success.

So as a leader how do you co-create a vision with your team that will truly inspire them? Here are four pointers for success:

  1. Understand why staying with the status quo isn’t the best option. When people understand that the world is changing and the impact of staying still is not an option, then there is an incentive to move.
  2. Understand individual and team motivations for success. By understanding and tapping into individual aspirations, there is more engagement in driving towards a future that will not only achieve team goals, but also those of individuals. It can be surprising and valuable to see these commonalities.
  3. Explore team and individual values. What are the common values that that the team believe are important to encapsulate and will be at the heart of future success?
  4. See your team through others’ eyes. What would your customers or other stakeholders value?

Once you have done this you will be ready to create thematic statements that will include each stakeholder perspective, including your own and individual members of the team. A vision statement can be crafted where each word reflects the themes you have identified. As a team you can share with other stakeholders and refine so it really expresses where you want to go.

By using these points you and your team will feel real ownership in the vision and all that will remain to be done is move towards it! For tips on how to do that review how to turn your goals into results

Or you could be like Shakespeare’s Henry V before Agincourt – what do you think?

Acknowledgements to Karon West for her review and insights