Newspaper Icon

Building Competencies: Inspirational Leadership

Inspirational Leadership


Are you as inspiring as you could be?

According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review(1) data gathered from nearly 50,000 leaders who were assessed by approximately a half-million colleagues showed that out of the 16 leadership competencies, the ability to inspire creates the highest levels of employee engagement and commitment.  In addition, the ability to inspire is what most powerfully separates the most effective leaders from the average and least-effective leaders, and it is the number one factor employees identify when asked what they would most like to have in their leader.

Inspirational leaders ignite a spark within their teams that move them into action. They don’t require incentives, guidance, or even motivation to act because they’ve been inspired.

Inspired People are more productive

Inspired People are more productive – Chart(2)

So how can you inspire your people?

According to the research done by Zenger & Folkman(1), inspiring leaders “spent time developing their subordinates. They engaged in highly collaborative behavior. They encouraged those about them to be more innovative.”  In addition, inspiring leaders are more adept at making emotional connections with their subordinates, establishing a clear vision and are moreover more effective in their communication and willing to spend more time communicating.

The good news is that these are competencies that can be learned and developed. As many of you are aware, nearly all successful corporate executives have invested in coaching in order to develop this. The bad news is that this will take time – at least 6 months.

So why coaching?

In this context, coaching is a valued leadership competency which can be learnt. Coaching enables you to get results by working through others. It provides techniques to cultivate your capacity to inspire passion and develop relationships of mutual respect and trust. By allowing innovation and contribution from those you work with, you will unleash improved engagement and performance. You will learn how to cultivate highly collaborative behaviour as well as how to develop peoples’ sense of self-worth and self-belief.

At the Centre for Coaching, we have been designing and delivering coaching programmes for close to 20 years, from short introductory programmes for Leaders and Managers in organisations through our 6-month Coaching for Development programme, enabling participants to evoke excellence in others, to our year-long Professional Coaching Course & Masterclass programme. We are a premier global executive coaching organisation and we specialise in developing inspiring leaders. Our courses are Business School and University accredited, as well as by the International Coach Federation. All of these programmes also form part of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business Executive Education suite of offerings and are thus informed by both academic rigour and coaching practice.

For example, in our introductory programme, Leading Through Coaching, we establish the foundation for building the competencies identified above. Participants work through proven methods for:

  • Building the skills to foster mutual trust and respect with the individuals around you;
  • Developing capabilities to ensure your people feel seen and heard;
  • Generating out-of-the-box thinking with multiple possibilities;
  • Enhancing connection and collaboration among your teams;

All of the above will enable you to create & cultivate self-correcting teams that embrace new challenges, and you walk away with practical tools for creating and growing your capacity to inspire those with whom you work.

We know that as the nature of work grows increasingly collaborative and self-directed, inspirational leaders can be the key that unlocks the door towards a more engaged workforce and higher performance.  We’d be delighted to connect, especially if you’re interested/curious in exploring how to build your/others capabilities to be a more inspirational leader.

If you are interested in building your capabilities to be a more inspirational leader, you might like to consider joining us for our 6-month Coaching for Development Programme.

1- Zenger, Jack and Folkman, Joseph (2013) “What Inspiring Leaders Do”, Harvard Business Review, 20 June 2013
2- Garton, Eric and Mankins, Michael (2015) “Engaging your Employees is Good, but Don’t Stop There”, Harvard Business Review, 09 December 2015