WANTED: Visionary Leaders
To compete in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, leaders must inspire their people with a strong and achievable vision, an inclusive culture, personal growth opportunities, and competitive rewards.
“An inspired employee comes to work lit up about what they are doing because they feel they matter, their work matters, and the impact they are having matters. What burns people out is when they don’t have a sense of the impact or contribution and that it matters,” says Stephen Covey, author of Trust & Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others.
So how can leaders inspire employees? Here are some ways to drive the change:
1. Nail your Narrative: Can you crisply provide your company’s reason for being in business in 30 seconds or less? While you are at it, can you articulate in a few words what business you are in? Most leaders sadly can’t, and this miss lies at the heart of uninspired people. Being able to articulate your purpose and business strategy simply is critical to aligning your people around that goal and helping them understand their role in achieving it.
2. Start with Trust: The whole notion of someone needing to earn your trust means you are commencing a new relationship by being distrustful, thus needing to overcome a negative-rooted in nothing. The power of earning trust from people from the beginning is truly powerful and inspiring.
3. Be Inspiring: No one is inspired to tackle that big project if you, their fearless leader, are less than enthusiastic. We are all running on fumes sometimes, but it is essential as leaders to recognize when it is happening and do whatever you need to do to recharge your “inspiration-battery” early and step back before your exhaustion or frustration flows to the team and their work.
4. Emphasize Well-Being- Yours and Theirs: A recent study by Deloitte found that one in three employees and executives are constantly struggling with fatigue and poor mental health, with an enormous dichotomy between perception and reality. For example, only 56% of employees believe their company’s executives care about their well-being, while 90% of C-suite executives surveyed think their employees believe they are cared about. Caring about someone has less to do with what you say and more to do with how you act.
5. Create Growth Opportunities: One of the top qualities of a visionary leader is Curiosity and a desire to Listen and Learn. Top talent wants to grow their skills, experience, and paychecks. Yet many leaders hold back their best people from stretching because they don’t want to lose them to another team or company. It is a short-sighted view that inevitably results in just that.
Culture change has long been a buzzword, there are a few cases of its actual success. And that is because it takes a holistic, top-down approach that starts with the CEO and flows consistently through every part of the business. Covey cites Microsoft as successfully achieving this goal, in large measure because CEO Satya Nadella reinvented the company by embodying the culture he sought. Covey states “They were very intentional about bringing purpose into what they were doing by modelling the desired behavior, coaching and caring about their people.”