“You’ve inspired me to do more.”
“When you stood up for what you believed, I knew I needed to as well.”
Nice compliments, right? For me, it was eye-opening. As a speaker and writer, I am always hoping someone is inspired by my words, that maybe, I have packaged information in just the right way to really connect with a person’s desire to improve. But these recent incidents had nothing to do with my blog or speaking events. These were people who I touched through mundane day-to-day events.
As a leader, we are always on stage. Everything we do matters. People are looking for us to set the example, to set the bar, to chart the course. I have written a few posts which relate to this: taking the high road and a portrait of a true leader. However, now I want to emphasize that we can make a difference even during ordinary times. We do this by the ensuring we have the following characteristics:
Consistency: Be consistent in behavior and words. Time after time if you stand by what you believe in, people will be influenced by it. People see they can trust you in that area, and it has the potential to inspire them to do the same.
Integrity: It’s exhausting to live a life without integrity. It’s not long until the deceit is exposed. Once integrity is lost, trust will never reach the level it was prior to the indiscretion. I discovered a business partner was using some “fuzzy” math in order to calculate mark-ups for his product. Since that event, I found myself questioning every deal he tried to make. That indiscretion overshadowed every future transaction we had to the point I chose not to do business with him.
Transparency: Letting people see the real you – the one that is so inspired to be a better leader, to deliver the best product, to rise above the rest – can leave a lasting impression. At times I find myself transparent to a fault. But it was due to my transparency that I received the aforementioned compliment. I was at a conference, and the topic of religion arose; more specifically, whether all roads lead to heaven. I stated my perspective without a second thought, and knowing me, without sugar-coating it. Years later, a now-friend said how much that made an impression on her and influenced her faith. Regardless of whether people agree with you or not, transparency is inspiring and connects you to other people.
It’s difficult to pinpoint that moment when someone will be inspired by what you say or do. But you set the bar, so set it high, and let people rise up to it. You never know when a moment will change a person’s life.
Jana Axline is president and leadership coach at Axline Solutions. Through her leadership musings she hopes to inspire audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Axline Solutions.