I’m a big practitioner of understanding the root of words – for clarity and greater impact.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word inspire means, “inhaling, breathing in; inspiration,” from the Latin inspirationem … inspirare “inspire, inflame, blow into,” … “to breathe” in the literal sense, it’s the “act of inhaling.”
What’s the theme?
Breathing in. Breath is life. Breath is energy. Breath is creativity. It’s a taking in of – energy, ideas, words, people – their perspective and needs. As a leader, if you aren’t inspired – full, infused, overflowing, abundant – with life, activity and ideas – how can you expect it from others?
If others don’t have it, and you do, then your job as a leader is to create the conditions by which they get on fire, ignited from within. An average employee on fire is worth so much more than a highly competent employee going through the motions. When you are present and attuned to what your people care about, a resonance happens between you and they are able to make connections to experiences, ideas, or people that wasn’t previously possible. The momentum builds on itself.
Your presence matters. This requires that you seek to understand who they are and what they care about. In this way, you can make connections and build a bridge to get them more engaged. When you are both better connected to what excites you about the work, it flows and speed of activity ensues.
Where are you today? Do you need TO BE INSPIRED – to hear, see or read something that jazzes you? Or do you need TO INSPIRE – to better connect to those you lead? Take one step in the direction that will fuel the fire – within yourself or within or among your people.
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