The Inspirational Leaders
Examples of great leaders are:
- Winston Churchill
- Mahatma Ghandi
- Horatio Nelson
- JF Kennedy
We can call this group “inspirational leaders”
Leadership can also be defined as: the act of
- “Being the first”;
- “Being the most advanced”
- “Acting as the trail blazer”
Examples of this second type of leadership would be:
- Walt Disney
- Henry Ford
- Louise Pasteur
- Steve Jobs
We will call this leadership type “pioneering leaders”
If you wanted to develop leadership skills, how could you set about the task?
1. You could look at the two definitions of leadership and examples of each type.
2. Then you could seek to discover their distinguishing qualities that are shared by each of the two groups: "inspirational leaders" and "pioneering leaders"
3. Then you would define the distinguishing qualities
4. Then you would practice the same qualities until they became a part of your habitual patterns and personality.
Let us start:
Let us look at the two definitions of leadership; "inspirational leaders" and "pioneering
leaders" and discover their distinguishing qualities:
Let us look at the inspirational leaders and discover their shared distinguishing characteristics
1. Winston Churchill
2. Mahatma Ghandi
3. Horatio Nelson
4. JF Kennedy
All these people share the same qualities:
1. They are all committed to achieving their goal
2. They are all courageous
3. They are all good communicators
4. They are all optimistic
Let us look at the pioneering leaders and discover their shared distinguishing characteristics
Examples of this type of leadership would be:
1. Walt Disney
2. Henry ford
3. Louise Pasteur
4. Steve Jobs
All these people share the same qualities: They are all
1. Technically knowledgeable
2. Creative thinkers, who see things from new perspectives
3. Willing to go against the prevailing trend
4. Able to incorporate and develop new technology
Now let us combine the two lists of four and write a set of eight guidance notes;
In order to improve your leadership skills, develop the following 8 attributes:
1. Become 100% Committed to achieving your goal
Here is a phrase used by all great leaders: "I give Total commitment"
Why is this important? Because success is not easy.
To succeed you will have to put up with many setbacks and defeats and disappointments.
The best example of this attitude was from an athlete called Tom Platz who said
"I'll either succeed - or I'll die trying".
Don't be too cautious
Be prepared to commit yourself 100% to your vision.
- Robert Conklin quote
"If you make the unconditional commitment to reach your most important goals, if the strength of your decision is sufficient, you will find the way and the power to achieve your goals".
Which leads us to our next quality……
2. Inspirational Leaders are all courageous
All great leaders such as Churchill, Ghandi were willing to put themselves on the line.
They lead "from the front".
They demonstrated their commitment in deeds and in action.
Example: Churchill wanted to lead the first wave of the D-Day landings onto the Normandy beaches personally.
It was only with the intervention of King George that Churchill relented.
In order to improve your leadership skills, be courageous.
3. Inspirational Leaders are all good communicators
Because leaders must inspire others to act, it is necessary for them to be able to communicate effectively.
They are able to use rhetorical speech that inflame the spirits of others and move them to action.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) D-Day Message
Order of the Day: 6 June 1944
"Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the Nazi war
machine, the elimination of tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world."
If you want to be a good leader practice speaking in inspirational terms.
How? Buy the book called "speeches that changed the world" by Simon Montefiore and study the best examples.
4. They are all optimistic
Optimism is the emotional state that is derived from holding a belief that the future will be better than the past.
" Most people don't sustain that belief every day, so most people are not very optimistic.
" Some never give it any thought and so they react only to the present moment.
" Some think that the future will be worse than the past. So they are pessimistic.
It takes practice and an act of will to purposefully train yourself to remain optimistic.
Are you willing to foster the belief that the future will be better than the past?
5. "Pioneering leaders" are all technically knowledgeable
In order for you to be a pioneer you must have improved technical ability and greater knowledge:
" You must know your stuff!
" Ignorance is not bliss
" Progress requires knowledge
" Increased knowledge is increased power
If you want to be a good leader, then practice increasing your knowledge base by initiating a programme of continuous study
6. "Pioneering leaders" are creative thinkers who see things from new perspectives
Creative thinking is the act of thinking about a topic but from outside the existing or established presumptions that normally are associated with that topic. This ability is sometimes called "thinking outside the box". Pioneer leaders are good at "thinking outside the box"
Pioneers see the problem differently.
They ask "What if………?" questions.
"What if we assumed that atoms were not indivisible?"
"What if we assumed that the individual, not the state, is the fundamental unit of society"
Quote from Thomas Edison
"There is a better way to do it. Find it!
Walt Disney quote:
"I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I resent limitations".
If you want to be a better leader ask questions starting with the phrase
"What if…………….. (Plus a positive hypothetical suggestion)"
7 "Pioneering leaders" are all willing to go against the prevailing trend
By definition, pioneers don't feel the need to follow the crowd.
Pioneers don't say
"I am the only one who thinks this, so therefore I must be wrong".
They are more likely to say "All the others are wrong and I am right!"
Some people misunderstand this quality and call it "arrogance".
I think, to do so would be an error.
I prefer to call this attitude:
" Independent thinking
" Self confidence
" And even a form of courage
Remember that: You don't have to follow the crowd.
" The majority view is not necessarily the correct view
" It is possible that all the others are wrong and you are the only one who is right
-Francis Bacon quote:
"It never troubles the wolf how many be the sheep".
If you want to be a leader, then develop your powers of independent and self-confident thought
8 "Pioneering leaders" are all able to incorporate and develop new technology
Over the centuries, Mankind stays the same - but technology changes radically
Technology is what makes the difference.
If we took away from the world all the accumulated wealth of human technological advance, then we would each be reduced to scratching a pitiful existence.
It is Technology that makes the big difference.
Pioneers are pioneers in technology
1. Steve Jobs- the founder Apple
2. Enrico Fermi- the founding father of nuclear energy
3. Tim Berners Lee- the founder of the internet
4. Louise Pasteur- the founder of western medicine
5. Marie Curie- the discoverer of radioactivity and the basis of nuclear physics
These are the people whose work has transformed the lives of the whole world!
These leaders are primarily scientists and technological specialists.
To be a leader in your field embrace new technology and apply it.