Businesses, especially very small, small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the Pacific. They provide for our needs, employ our people, energise our communities, help us fulfil our potential and provide a future for our young people. Businesses have the power to transform our world one step at a time. Business leaders have a responsibility to use that power wisely, ethically and responsibly.
This short series of articles looks at the transformational power of business.
Today the focus is on inspirational leadership
Much has been written about leadership in business – no leader, no business and of course we all have leadership skills and abilities.
However, going for gold requires us to be inspirational leaders – to be the sort of people others want to emulate or be around.
Inspirational leaders have the ability to instil in someone the motivation, enthusiasm and courage to do better things and achieve more.
That means we have to be motivated and enthusiastic ourselves – this seven-point plan might help.
Firstly we need to be positive and optimistic – our glass must always be half full! From optimism comes confidence and the people you leader will learn to be confident and they in turn will help others – your optimism will have as crucial knock-on effect throughout your business, your family, your community and eventually your nation.
Secondly inspirational leaders must be ‘real’ – genuine people. We must open ourselves up to others and make sure what we say and what we do are totally aligned. You will neverinspire anyone unless they believe in you for who you are, not for the words you utter or the status you have.
Thirdly, inspirational leaders need to have ‘edge’ –the ability to assert what we believe. Be prepared to stand out in the crowd, be prepared to take a stand against corruption or abuse, be prepared to voice what we believe in and stay true to those beliefs.
Fourthly we need to be prepared to be vulnerable – to get outside our comfort zone and to put ourselves as leaders on our own learning curve. When we share stories of our mistakes with others then others see us as human and can maybe see themselves in us. In this way, we can connect and help people find their own inspirational leader within.
Fifthly we need energy and enthusiasm especially when we are around others – this will come across in our words, our body language, our behaviours, our actions. By being energetic we are able to motivate others and to enthuse them. As leaders we need to know when we must recharge our own batteries – none of us can keep going forever. We need to take breaks, spend time with people we are close to, have fun, keep learning and open ourselves up to new experiences!
Sixthly we must have integrity – this means being the same person all the time! A definition of integrity is ‘the state of being whole and undivided’. People will not trust or follow you if you show more than one face – inspirational leaders must be honest with strong moral principles.
Finally, inspirational leaders must connect with others – they should act like a magnet and attract others to them not so that others will copy us but that they will learn about their own inspirational qualities. Also when we connect in this way we build strong networks which will help the spread of the transformational power of individual businesses.
A business on its own will transform nothing – it needs to be led by someone who is motivated by the excitement of helping to transform the way they do business, the way they relate to staff and customers, the role they play in their community, their commitment to the environment – just imagine what a difference we could make if every small business saw itself as an instrument not just for profit but for transformation! Go well!
Coming next – part two of our Going for Gold series – business visions to transform the world.
Chris Elphick is Director of Learn.fast Pacific, supporting the development of a range of businesses and organisations in Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomons and other Pacific countries. He is an experienced business mentor and has years of experience of working with Small & Medium Enterprises. Learnfast Pacific works in close association with business support organisations throughout the Pacific.
If you have a business issue for Chris to comment on please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org