At the “Center” of Inspirational Leadership
By Kristine Steinberg, CEO of Kismet
What does it mean to be an inspirational leader?
The Economist Intelligence Unit recently found that only 50% of employees feel their leaders are inspirational. Even less feel their leaders create engagement. With half of the workforce uninspired and unengaged — productivity, morale, and workplace sustainability are at an all-time low. People are thirsting to find leadership they can follow, emulate, and gather energy from. No matter where you sit in your company or organization, this presents an opportunity for you to step up and lead people to their potential.
Bain & Company dug into this data and began researching exactly which leadership qualities inspire employees. They identified 33 main elements that create inspiration, ranging from empathy and humility to assertiveness and responsibility. If you’re in a leadership position, good news: you only need one attribute out of the list of 33 to be considered inspiring.
Through their research, Bain found that one trait mattered the most to people when considering what makes a leader inspiring: centeredness. More than anything, people wanted their leaders to be centered.
So, what is centeredness? It’s being fully present and connected with yourself, both mentally and physically. From this place, we are able to access the pause needed to choose how we respond to situations vs. unconsciously reacting in ways that can be detrimental and unproductive. When we’re centered, our body feels balanced and grounded, and we’re breathing from our core. We can sense the physical expressions of our emotions, and we have the ability to name those feelings in the moment. We’re connected with ourselves, and therefore we can connect with others.
Think about someone who is the opposite of centered: they’re frenetic, anxious, urgent, pushy, competitive, self-absorbed. This is not the kind of energy that we are drawn to. In fact, we avoid it. A lack of centeredness is naturally repelling, while the presence of it has an undeniable pull, a magnetism.
Do you want people to consider you a centered and inspirational leader?
Follow this framework to assess your level of centeredness as a leader:
1. Get grounded.
The foundation of being centered is being physically grounded. Be sure you have your house in order, so to speak: get sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and ensure you are connected to your physical well-being. This allows you to feel grounded.
2. Know what you stand for.
The next step is to create an emotional centeredness that is based in knowing what you stand for and value. Your actions, behaviors, and decisions will be centered around this value set, and people will begin to see a consistency in how you show up.
3. Seek feedback.
You can only truly know if you are an inspirational leader by getting some feedback. Embrace your vulnerability and start by asking 5 people at different levels of your organization the following questions:
- How inspirational do I come across as a leader? On a scale from 1 to 10, where would you rank me? Why?
- What could I do to improve my inspirational leadership skills? What do you want to see more of from me?
- Please provide examples of when I was inspiring and when I was not.
- Who could I emulate to become a more inspirational leader?
4. Find your own inspiration.
In order to be inspirational, you must be inspired. Who inspires you? Why? What activities inspire you? Can you make time to emulate those qualities and engage in those activities? Build your inspirational energy and watch it ripple out to others.
For more support and guidance on how to deepen your ability to lead and inspire, contact Kismet. Through 360 feedback and coaching, Kristine will help you transform as a leader.
Early in my own career, I worked for a leader who exuded centeredness. She had self-esteem, confidence, and passion as a leader — so when she was leading me, she projected her inner confidence on to me. I felt empowered with a sense of “you got this”. If you’re a leader who is truly centered, grounded, and connected, you’re going to naturally share that energy and instill it in those around you. The more centered you are, the more centered someone else will be in your presence (whereas the more frenetic, fearful, and ego-driven you are, the more you spread that to others).
In today’s changing landscape of uncertainty, people are looking to be inspired by centered leaders. Centeredness in leadership inspires people to find their own center of gravity — allowing them to navigate the world and perform at their highest potential.
Will you step up to inspire others as a centered leader?
Kristine Steinberg is the CEO of Kismet. She believes that your life should be deeply fulfilling — not tolerated. Partner with Kismet to dismantle fear, define your path, and lead with courage. Start your transformation today: www.thisiskismet.com.