Think of a project you were super keen to take part in—one you couldn’t wait to execute and the success of which you were highly invested in. Maybe it was a new way of working or a challenging new strategy…
Now think about how you were briefed on that project. How did your boss communicated their goals and vision? Did they make you excited about the project before it started? Did they paint a compelling, emotional picture of how life would be as a result of their plan?
Adopting an Inspire style is one of the most effective ways to get others enthusiastic about and involved in your vision. Chances are, the boss who briefed you on that exciting project had strong Inspire style skills. We’ll look at what that entails in this blog and show you how to develop your own.
So what is the Inspire style exactly, and why is it essential in leadership?
Sharing your vision with others is important, but you need everyone on board and enthusiastic if you want your plans to take shape. The ability to propagate your visions and generate support for them is at the heart of the inspire style, which is why individuals with strong skills in this area are often described as ‘captivating.’
Looking a little closer, adopting an Inspire style involves:
- Presenting your unique ideas in a compelling way
- Promoting your vision or the organization on an emotional, rather than rational level
- Connecting others to the “Why” behind your ideas or plans
This is particularly useful when you want others to demonstrate initiative and take ownership of projects, tasks, and goals—but it definitely comes more naturally to some rather than others.
Don’t worry if this communication style isn’t one of your strengths just yet, because like most styles it can actively be developed. Here are some exercises that may help you.
These five tips include some practical ways to become stronger at inspiring others.
1. Act Independently
As we’ve seen, inspiring others is all about thinking for yourself and being confident in your decisions. The core question here is “What do you stand for?”
Taking action independently means adopting an independent mindset. You can practice this with the following simple exercise:
- Think of a situation that isn’t going well at work. Ask yourself how you feel about it, what your observations are, and why the situation matters to you as an individual. Try not to think about how others perceive things—focus on your independent appraisal and note down your interpretation of it.
- Next, your job is to communicate your observations out loud. The goal of this step isn’t to convince others of your correctness but simply to practice expressing an independent view. You can do this by preceding your observations with “I have noticed that…” and indicating what you stand for: “This is why I believe…”
2. Generate Support For Your Ideas
You may have noticed that people with strong Inspire skills are good at garnering support for their ideas. This is all about speaking to peoples’ emotions rather than appealing to reason.
It can often take time to engage people fully in your ideas, so the trick is to start early (even two to three weeks before you want to take action on your plan). From here, it’s all about being strategic; try the following approach:
- Clarify the ideas you would like to generate support for. Write them down if it helps!
- Outline your motives for putting your idea or vision into action. Why are you keen to implement this project or plan?
- Brainstorm what you believe is important to your audience. This will help you create a strong and inspiring argument later on.
- Over the following weeks, casually mention your plan or idea in a few conversations, for example: “I was thinking…” or “This [ABC] has been on my mind lately…”
- Invite three people to critique the arguments you have planned. What are the pros and cons of each?
- Now, incorporate these insights into your original argument from Step #2. What are the new arguments or motives for putting it into action? Write them down!
- Pick a date for sharing your proposal and check that your audience will be open to hearing your input.
- Prepare your presentation, and finally,
- Check what others think of your plan, idea, or vision.
If you’ve prepared ahead of time with all these steps, chances are that they’ll be receptive and onboard with your proposal!
3. Highlight Your Strengths and Qualities
Whether they are creative, kind, hard-working, or something else, inspirational people are very skilled at making their unique strengths and qualities known.
One way to identify your strengths is by writing down what you think your qualities are and asking others to evaluate your list. You might want to ask five people to rate each of your suggested strengths on a scale of one to three, where 1 = I don’t recognize this strength, 2 = I show this behavior sometimes, and 3 = This strength is very recognizable. After tallying up your score for each strength, you’ll have a good idea of what your top strengths are!
Another option is to ask others directly. What do they think you are best at, and how do they feel you differentiate yourself from others?
Once you’ve identified your strengths, it’s time to make them public. Think of some potential opportunities to discuss your wins and skills and try it out for yourself.
4. Inspire Enthusiasm
Getting others enthusiastic about your idea is key to inspiring them effectively. There are two important aspects to this: touch them emotionally and deliver your message with power and energy.
If you’re not sure how to excite others and create buy-in, here are some tips that might help:
- Gauge your own enthusiasm levels first. If you’re not genuinely excited about your idea or vision, it’s highly unlikely that others will be.
- Try painting a picture of your envisioned future that specifically highlights the benefits for them. What do they gain in this scenario?
- Make sure you use positive words while describing that future, such as amazing, fantastic, or wonderful. More on this in a minute…
5. Communicate Your Vision
This tip is all about the “how” of communicating your vision. You want to be compelling, motivational, and empowering when you do so, so make sure it is future-oriented, relatable, and practical while providing others with a direction to follow.
In addition to these components, you might also want to consider:
- Using a metaphor. Think of an image that represents your goal or idea and practice using it to express your vision.
- Avoid business jargon. There are better ways to inspire others, so try thinking of alternative words for each business term you come up with.
- Be a broken record—people are far more likely to buy into your vision when they hear about it more than once, so mention it a second time in conversation.