The research is clear, inspiring leaders cultivate high-performing teams that achieve great results. In this article, we’re going to share what separates a good leader from a great one, and what it takes to be an inspiring leader.

How Inspiring Leaders Cultivate High Performance

Many leaders, or would-be leaders, desire a high-performing team. All too often, they don’t know how to do this in an authentic and attainable manner.  When you or your team do not have a clear and exciting pathway that facilitates sustained high performance, the impact of your leadership will be limited and not as effective as it could be.

Inspiring leaders are committed to constantly exploring what they and their teams are capable of. Instead of focusing on short-term achievements, “How can we meet the quarterly revenue goal?” they challenge themselves with broader, long-term visions, asking instead, “What is this team capable of achieving? What am I capable of achieving?” When you get invested in the future and engage in authentic communication with your team in working toward that vision, life gets exciting!

The Five Values Inspiring Leaders Need

Inspiring leaders need a solid foundation to cultivate a long-term vision for growth. As a leader, your values have the power to elevate and strengthen your performance and the performance of those around you. Here are five key values inspiring leaders need to have and develop:

1. A Growth Mindset
  • One must develop a deep belief that true fulfillment comes from a personal and professional growth mindset –not being satisfied with treading water, “getting by,” or maintaining the status quo.
2. Taking Ownership
  • To be an inspiring leader, ownership of the process must start with you. The source of progress begins with you and your actions, decisions, and interactions with your team, clients, and others in your network.
3. Leading from a Place of Love and Integrity
  • Truly inspiring leaders have fierce advocacy, a passion, that keeps them striving day after day, year after year. These leaders believe they need to “walk the walk” and deliver the best for their employees, customers, clients, and communities. In addition, inspirational leaders act with integrity because they know every action matters. For this reason, they embed their values into everything they do.
4. Maintain a Consistent Vision
  • Holding a clear picture of the future and the decision-making steps you need to take to get there helps to ignite passion in those around you.
5. High-Performance Needs High Energy
  • Being an inspiring leader is not relegated to only “camera-ready” extroverts. Introverts can and do lead in inspiring powerful, and bold ways. Regardless of personality type, enthusiasm and energy are traits that can be developed and incorporated into your business sector in a way that feels appropriate and natural.

Six Pitfalls to Overcome To Be An Inspiring Leader

The road to inspiring leadership is not an easy one, and there is a multitude of potholes, landslides, and road closures that can stop you and your team dead in its tracks. Here are a few to look out for, and consider adding them to the leadership coaching questions you periodically reflect on.

  1. Valuing your “comfort zone” overgrowth.
  2. Blaming problems, shortfalls, and missteps on other people, circumstances, or events.
  3. Refusing to be wrong or refusing to acknowledge a mistake or error.
  4. Not completing what you said you would, or “saying one thing but doing another.”
  5. Telling your team what to do and how and when to do it without their input.
  6. Walking away from passion and fulfillment for a life of complacency.

How Inspiring Leadership Can Transform Teams

Many businesses and teams suffer from two organizational behavior problems: satisfaction with average or under-achieving outcomes and avoidance of high-achievement due to pain that can accompany it (if you’ve ever heard the expression, “no good deed goes unpunished,” you understand how dysfunctional organizational behaviors can dissuade employees from wanting to achieve excellence). These barriers present a real challenge to inspired leading and creating inspired teams, but being aware of these flaws can help in short-circuiting them and re-wiring them to encourage innovation and high-performance.

Are You Working or Are You Toiling?

When you’re on the path of becoming an inspiring leader and motivating your team to high performance and beyond, it’s essential to check in and evaluate our perception of work. Are we working, or are we toiling? There’s a significant difference between the two.

Work is about adventure, creativity, action, and peaceful connection. Conversely, toil is full of drama, stress, procrastination, and scarcity-driven fear. We often think we’re working, but in reality, we’re toiling. When that’s the case, it should come as no surprise that we slip into the six pitfalls that can undermine inspired leadership and performance.

The Research is Clear: Inspired Leaders and Employees Attain Greatness

Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review has shown that employee engagement isn’t enough to reach high-performing breakthroughs – but inspiration is what turbo-charges productivity and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy loop. Inspired leaders inspire employees who, in turn, inspire those around them, resulting in a collective effort to attain new heights. 

The same research also showed that while most businesses and organizations lack inspiring leaders, anyone and everyone can become one if they desire. This research affirms that inspiring leaders are not born into the job; they’re made through dedication and commitment to high performance and excellence.

This research is fantastic news (and inspiring, in and of itself!) because it confirms the long-held belief that when we allow ourselves to be filled with inspiration, we no longer require external motivation to attain high performance and go beyond. Knowing we are following our purpose and infusing meaning into our lives and work propels our employees and us.

Be the Leader You Dream of Becoming!

Whether you’re already a high-performing inspiring leader or desiring the goal of becoming one, maintaining a clear vision, mission, and purpose for what you do and how you do it is a prerequisite for inspiring and leading teams. When you are leading with authenticity, your values will strengthen and elevate not only your abilities and performance but the work of all those who surround you. So, there’s no reason to wait any longer. Start implementing the five values of inspired leadership, and your metamorphosis to inspired leadership will begin!


If you enjoyed this, find out how Nicole Rodrigues, the founder of NRPR Group, and a recognized industry leader grew her business through inspired leadership and the lessons she learned along the way.