Being a leader is overrated. Be an inspiration.

“When you’re told to be a leader there are very few people that give you a blueprint on how to do it.”- Stacey Abrams

This statement struck me about how the concept of leadership had become so skewed by an ego driven approach and not a nurturing approach that creates more leaders and/or exceptional people within your company or community.

What is leadership? Is it a person who commands or a person who inspires action and creates a momentum towards a successful direction? I believe it is the latter because the “top dog” authoritative style leader is not only toxic, but ineffective. In business school they go over different styles of leadership: Transformational, Democratic, Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Servant, Transactional and Laissez-Faire.  But is there really a correct way to lead this generation of Millennials in the workforce? In my opinion, yes, Inspirational Leadership.

Inspirational Leadership energizes and creates a sense of direction or purpose for employees. An effective leader in this style would pull aspects of the other leadership styles because there is a time for each of these to meet the end goal of a project or purpose. By using this style, it encourages workers to lean in and grasp the company’s vision and conquer fears that would otherwise hinder the employee personally and ultimately professionally.

Millennials are the driving force of success for this country and to negate their ideals of how “comfortable” someone should be at work is antiquated and inefficient. Just as many seasoned CEOs or managers they entered the workforce with both gumption and fear, and to save their mental health from antiquated leadership styles they job hop. This is due to the lack of responsibility taken in leadership to create an environment for healthy consistent growth that dwindles fears and raises personal expectation to be the best.

Make fear your new friend.

When I decided to start my own business, I was terrified because I knew that the road ahead of me was not paved with open arms. I had to face my fears and lead myself before I could lead anyone else. I had to lead myself away from anticipating the worst, from fearing being the only woman of color in the room, from feeling like I would be a neglectful wife and mother, and many other fears that would hinder my success. By using inspirational leadership to build up myself, why wouldn’t I use the same style to build my company and create a space for employees to come in and conquer their own inhibitions. How could a manager direct or encourage an employee to complete a task when they themselves have yet to conquer something similar.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

Richard is talking about the trickle up effect of investing in the people around you so that they can evolve and the company will always operate at their absolute best. If you can lead by inspiring people to be the best that they can be they can create their own blueprint for success that would likely benefit you or be an excellent ally for further growth. This is true in a company or community. When we as leaders, or inspirers, lean in to the people who are under our guidance we create streams of opportunities for success that benefit everyone. Let’s thrive together.