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Seven Tips To Becoming An Inspirational Leader

I was recently asked "What would you say is the one real key to finding and keeping people?" After thinking for a moment, I said "Leadership." The reason is that an inspirational leader in any field - business, sport, politics - draws in great people to work with them through their own magnetism. But what is it that these leaders do that makes them stand out? And how can this help you recruit and retain the right people?

Here are 7 tips given by people much wiser than myself on the subject of leadership:

1. "The Very Essence Of A Leader Is That You Must Have A Vision" (Theodore Heburgh) - Have you taken time to undertake some longer-term strategic thinking? - Yes, I am sure you can manage the day-to-day aspects of your work – but where do you see your business in 3 years, or 5 years? - What does this mean for your team over that time? The clearer and more exciting your vision, the easier it becomes to attract and retain the best people in your market

2. "Leaders don't force people to follow - they invite them on a journey" (Charles S. Lauer) - Once you have a powerful vision about where your business is going, you then need a map for that journey - This means developing a plan and articulating it to current and future employees: a plan to get people excited about where your business is going, where their careers could go and so inspiring them into joining you and then remaining with you

3. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader" (John Quincy Adams) - It's all very well talking about a vision and planning, but "actions speak louder than words" - Leading by example demonstrates your commitment to building your business and developing a future for your staff as well as yourself

4. "I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers" (Ralph Nader) - Modern leaders focus on developing and growing people - people who will help to build the future of your business and help to lead it. - Not everyone has the potential to be a leader of people but, led in the right way, they will have the capability to help develop and grow your business. - Focus on developing and growing such people and you become a much more attractive employer.

5. "Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish" (Sam Walton) - Developing the confidence and capability of your people will raise their self-belief - Show them you believe in their potential, encourage them, praise them - Encourage them to take risks and try new things and help them to learn lessons when things go wrong - A leader who boosts the self-esteem of his/her people will always be more successful in recruiting and retaining people than one who doesn't

6. "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other" (John F. Kennedy) - Great leaders have the ability to gain knowledge, acquire skills and adapt behaviours to achieve their goals - The pace of modern business is such that this ability to ‘unlearn' old behaviours and skills and develop new ones is a fundamental requirement of leaders - Those leaders and businesses that have the ability to adapt to changing environments will be the winners when looking to attract and keep the best talent

7. "A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune" (Anon) - Great leaders have the courage to stand up when things go wrong - People accept that things change and things go wrong, but a leader who has the honesty to face up to it will always win greater trust and loyalty from his or her team. This is something that will always be attractive to potential employees.

So in summary, an inspirational leader:

1. Develops a vision
2. Has a plan to realise this vision
3. Leads by example
4. Develops and grows their people
5. Focuses on building the confidence of their people
6. Keeps on learning
7. Has the courage to stand up in adversity

So, look at this list above and ask yourself how well you stack up against these 7 points? What ONE thing could you start doing that will enhance you as a leader and help you in attracting and holding on to great people?
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  Published Date - August 24 2009
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