Eight Keys to Inspired Leadership-Engaging Leadership in the 21st Century

Business leadership training, executive leader development and the process of inspired leadership, releases people's imaginations, which triggers innovation

These eight keys define the underlying skills in the art of leadership.

1. Reach and Influence of Audience (RIA). Reach and Influence of Audience is not achieved through PowerPoint presentations, memos or meetings, but rather through consistent and deliberate efforts to understand and effectively connect with your audiences including employees, board of directors, stockholders and strategic partners. Reach & Influence of Audience means more effective communication inside and outside an organization.

2.  Recognize the actual vs. the intended impact of your voice. Just as Kevin Asbjornson comes out from behind his piano to elicit participants’ responses to his music, artful leaders come out from behind job titles and desks to find out whether their “audience” heard what they intended to say. Just as concert pianists must both tune and tone their instruments, leaders can learn to tune and tone their voices and to anticipate their impact on others.

3. Listen with intention vs. hear with filters.  Listening is itself an art that requires attentiveness, openness to new perspectives, and the ability to draw connections among disparate elements. Rather than hearing with filters, Artistry of Leadership participants learn to engage in intentional listening, thereby increasing emotional intelligence.

4. Facilitate solutions with the right questions vs. dictate the right answers. Leaders sometimes believe they have to have all the answers. However, the art of asking good questions and listening perceptively to others’ questions creates better followership-- and better solutions-- than the habit of dictating answers.

5. Balance action with reflection. “Do, do, do, act, act, act” is the mantra of many organizations. Action without reflection, however, results in premature decisions, wasted effort and mediocre results. Balancing action with reflection ensures individual and organizational learning.

6. Recognize and acknowledge the talents of others. Many leaders fail to engage the talents of others because they neglect the critical first step of recognizing and acknowledging their gifts. Just as successful artists maximize their own gifts, artful leaders tap into and leverage all of the talent in the workplace.

7. A leader who doesn’t practice is like a performing artist who doesn’t rehearse – they both lose their audience. Leadership is not a right or entitlement; it must be consistently demonstrated, refined and earned. Creating and sustaining meaningful connections reinforces credibility and integrity with employees, customers, stockholders, board of directors and strategic partners.

8. Leaders inspire people; people motivate themselves. Artists create from deep internal motives. Likewise, individuals in organizations bring intrinsic motivation to their work as well. Rather than trying to manufacture motivation, an artful leader inspires exceptional work by calling upon others’ innate desire to make a difference. This inspiration inevitably fires people’s imaginations which in turn triggers innovation.

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As a leading business consultant, management performance and inspirational speaker, Kevin Asbjornson founded Inspire! Imagine! Innovate!, a professional services firm focused on developing the leadership skills that transform organizations into creative and innovative entities. Go to I3 Professional Services.

© 2004 by Inspire! Imagine! Innovate! and Kevin Asbjornson. All rights reserved. No reproductions of the contents of The Eight Keys to Inspired Leadership without express written permission of Inspire! Imagine! Innovate!.