One common tenet of great leadership that many experts and gurus espouse is inspiration. They say that in order to be a great leader, you must be inspiring – you must carry yourself in a way that makes people want to follow you, be a role model, and energize and rally people behind a compelling vision and purpose. Easier said than done!

This post from SmartBrief on Leadership offers twelve principles of inspiring leadership taken from Kevin Murray’s book, Communicate to Inspire. As a client once said to us about learning to lead, “these concepts are simple, but not easy.” Murray helps bring to life the very amorphous concept of being inspiring and offers simple, though not easy, actions for becoming an inspirational leader. His principles include:

  • Be yourself better
  • Share purpose and values
  • Adopt a future focus
  • Bring the outside in
  • Engage through conversations
  • Be audience-centric
  • Listen
  • Have a point of view
  • Use stories and metaphor
  • Be aware of the signals you send
  • Prepare properly for public platforms
  • Learn, rehearse, review, and improve

All of these principles drive home the point that inspiration is a combination of actions and words. Murray says, “Communication is the tool that enables inspiring leadership.” And we wholeheartedly agree. It’s hard to be inspiring if your words are poorly chosen or confusing, your energy is lackluster, your actions don’t match your words, you aren’t listening, and/or you don’t understand or connect with those you want to inspire.

Being an inspirational leader requires emotional intelligence. It starts with your own self-awareness – understanding your personal values, preferences, style, and perspectives – and an awareness of others – their perspectives, needs, and styles as well.

By developing your communication skills and building your emotional intelligence, you can up your inspiration quotient, and then you’ll reap the rewards of great leadership.

What do you do that inspires others?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

To become a more inspiring leader, contact Robyn at

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