We often attach the term leader to our managers and supervisors, people on top of the career hierarchy. But leadership is not limited to work. We too can be leaders in different areas of our lives and relationships whether that be in our families or even our circle of friends. That we can influence the people around us means that we are leaders. Knowing that our actions influence the people around us, how do you use this influence to inspire others? What kind of leader are you? In this article we delve into what inspirational leadership is and what traits we need to develop to not just lead but inspire others.


“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is one of the most influential leaders in the world. Her life has been an inspiration for others. And it is her passion that moves people. It is that power that drives us to our goal. We may sometimes mistake passion for mindless bursts of movement but passion is sustainable. Our passions are numerous. You may be passionate about cooking, about caring for your child, about providing for your family, about being the best employee, about helping people. No matter what it is, if you allow your passion to lead, it will lead you to greater heights. 


“If you see it, you can achieve it. If you don’t have vision, you can’t make it in this world.” – Steve Harvey

If passion is what drives us, vision is our destination. As we let our passion lead us, our eyes are trained on our vision. Vision is not just a dream, it is an actionable plan infused with imagination and wisdom. As we understand our driving force, it is important to sit down and think about where you want that passion to lead you. Where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve? If you are passionate about helping others, what does that look like for you? Once you’ve identified your vision, then every single decision you make will lead you to that vision. 


“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” – Abraham Lincoln

We are never too young or too old to learn. It is in learning everyday that we grow. Growing and learning are inseparable from leading because leading means we give to those around us and we cannot give what we do not have. If we are passionate about something, we would want to be the best at doing so. The only way for us to achieve excellence is to learn. We can learn from books, from our own experiences, from other people. The key is to be open to learning. 


“Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have.”

Pat Summitt

As we go on our journeys to become inspirational leaders, as we learn and grow, it is important that we take ownership of our actions. True leaders do not place blame. As leaders, we take ownership. We may look at accountability in a negative light but accountability is more than that. Being accountable does not just apply to mistakes made but the growth to be had as well. Our lives are not mere combinations of coincidences but a collection of steps, of decisions we make. Make each step with intent and conviction. 


“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.” – Pat Wadors

We’ve talked about how we can develop ourselves to become better leaders. The other side of the equation, how we become an inspiration is dependent on how open we are to other people. Creating a safe environment for people to learn, to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes, fosters inspiration leadership. Rewarding originality and celebrating differences allows not just the people around us but us as well to widen our viewpoint and think outside the box. Fostering this thinking nurtures unity and togetherness. We do not just achieve for ourselves but for the collective. When we allow ourselves to see the potential in others, we start to realize that we all truly are leaders, that we are all capable of greater things. 


“There is divine beauty in learning. To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.” – Elie Wiesel

Being grateful and humble is key not just in inspirational leadership but in our life. It is vital that we recognize that we are sums of the people that have come into our lives that helped shape us: our parents, our teachers, mentors, friends. We are able to walk this path because of the help of these people. It is important then, to take time to recognize this and be thankful and humble: to recognize that it is not just our own merits that have led us thus far. When we can be both thankful and grateful, we won’t just drive people to success, we also show them to be humble. 

As we journey to improve ourselves and take on the mantle to inspire others, we may face setbacks, let us use the lessons learned from rejection and failures to fuel us to take the next step. Forward we go.