Join Jeff Weiner for an in-depth discussion in this video Inspiration, part of On Leadership by Jeff Weiner.
- All right, three pillars of effective leadership. We've got awareness, we've got synthesis and we have inspiration. Today we're going to focus on the third, one of those pillars, which is inspiration and interestingly enough, this is the one that classically and historically I always use to define leadership. So if any of you had come up to me and approached me, let's call it five, six, seven years ago and you had said, Jeff, can you talk a little bit about leadership? What have you learned? What does it mean? I would have gone all in on inspiration. And as we have discussed in the past, this was really an evolution. It was a journey that happened somewhat organically in terms of my recognition of the importance of both awareness and synthesis in addition to this aspect of inspiration. But we're going to drill deep on inspiration today. And simply put in my opinion, the way to define leadership is this way. The ability to inspire others, to achieve shared objectives. And by far and away the most important word here is inspire. And that's going to be the focus of today's discussion. I think more often people have a tendency to use the word manager and leader synonymously interchangeably. Oftentimes people will say, yeah, I'm in a management position, I'm a leader. I'm managing these people, I'm leading them. And I believe there's a fundamental difference. And it really comes back to this idea of inspiration. Managers tell people what to do. Leaders inspire them to do it. That to me is the fundamental difference between a manager and the leader. And ideally all managers would be leaders, but that's simply not the case. All too often, you see a person in a role where they're responsible for others and they're just trying to get stuff done. So they say, this is what we need to get done. I need you to do this, go do this. As opposed to taking the time to do a lot of the work that we've been talking about in those first two sessions, to be aware of themselves, the team, the company, the macro to connect dots, to put a plan together, put a narrative together, define their vision to values. And then today is where we talk about how to inspire other to take action. To pursue that plan and make it happen to execute against it. So that to me is the fundamental difference between a manager and a leader. It's this aspect of inspiration. This is a really important first principle when it comes to inspiration. And that is if you want to inspire others, you need to start with what inspires you. And it may sound self-evident, it may sound completely obvious. It's not. I think there's a lot of situations where people find themselves in leadership roles and they will try to convey a certain sentiment, a certain objective, a certain way of doing things to their team or to the broader company because they're supposed to. Because that's what the company needs, because that's what the team is trying to do, or that's what the team wants to do. And if you, as a leader, don't believe in what it is that you're trying to convey. No one else is going to believe it either. Especially when it comes to things like vision and it comes to objectives that people are going to be skeptical about or feel threatened by. They'll tell you all the reasons you can't get it done. And you've all been in that situation. And if you truly have vision, if you have the ability to see around corners and define for a team or a company an objective that people have never seen done before, that's all you're going to find. You going to find a lot of negative energy. You're going to find a lot of naysayers, telling you all the reasons it's not going to happen. For a whole host of reasons by the way. Not understanding it, feeling threatened. So if you don't believe in what it is that you're trying to convey to others and what it is that you're trying to accomplish, all of that negative energy is going to become overwhelming. Because that's where people are going to default to. The reason it can't be done. You have to believe it with every fiber of your being. It has to be completely authentic to you. And we're going to get into aspect of authenticity in just a moment.
Learn about the importance of maintaining awareness of yourself, your team, your industry, and the world at large. Explore the topic of synthesis, which you achieve through developing your vision and values and by focusing on the most important priorities. Plus, learn about the role of inspiration in leadership, both in terms of being true to your own values and motivating others.