By pa360, Mar 8 2015 10:14AM
Aspiration and a clear vision are crucial to improvement. After all, if you don't know what you want to achieve, how will you be able to organise your effort and those of others in order to achieve it? And if you cannot achieve it, then you will not improve it. Aspiration is very similar, but not quite the same as a vision. I once read a very simplistic definition of the two, which described aspiration as what we want to achieve and vision as how we want to achieve it.
Once you know what you want to achieve (aspiration) and have a broad idea of how you want to achieve it (vision) you actually need to educate people to want to care about it (inspire), equip them to act upon it (empower) and encourage them to do something about it (transform). Here, leaders play a unique and critical role. Set out below are the three powerful ways that leaders can inspire, empower and transform.
The wonderful thing about aspiration and vision is that once they come together they often create a third thing which is inspiration. I often think of inspiration as being like the explosion that occurs when a source of combustion (aspiration) is brought into contact with a source of ignition (vision). It is essentially the "kaboom" effect that helps us to keep going even in the most adverse of conditions and to come up with unique solutions to the most complex of problems. But what is the role of the leader in inspiring others? Fundamentally, leaders inspire others by 'educating' and influencing them through the passion of their arguments, the strength of their convictions and the power of their example. If inspiration is the ability to get others to share your passion, then the full of extent of what you see in others, is likely to be a reflection of what they see in you.
As noted, inspiration is useful because it empowers. To be empowered is to be enabled, strengthened and fortified. Empowerment is more than just the knowledge and understanding of how something is to be done, it is also having the confidence to do it. An empowered person is therefore able to navigate their way around seemingly insurmountable obstacles and sees every new challenge (no matter how daunting) as an opportunity. In a nutshell an empowered person can do all that a disempowered person cannot do. Here, leaders play a critical role in empowering others. An effective leader understands that empowerment is the authority to act and the authority to act is more than a verbal conferment, but rather the practical tools such as choice, autonomy and the capacity for disciplined risk taking.
So far we have dealt with the unique relationship between inspiration and empowerment, but what about transformation? Well my recent blog 'making transformation happen' is entirely devoted to that subject and I would encourage you read it as a companion blog to this. But essentially, the purpose and effect of transformation is to bring about change so fundamental, that a situation becomes unrecognisable to what it was before. Through transformation, we don't just create new beginnings, we create new possibilities, new opportunities and new futures. Leaders in particular, play a critical role in the transformation process. An effective leader understands that transformation is brought about by disciplined stewardship. The image to hold in your mind is that of a gardener who thoughtfully, carefully and steadfastly nurtures seedlings to the point where they eventually mature and flower. Transformation simply speaks to the quality of leadership and stewardship that brings it about and makes it possible.
Bringing about change can often be a long, painstaking and challenging process. To get things moving, you need to have an aspiration and a clear vision. However, to get things done you need capable leaders with the leadership qualities to inspire and empower others. This will help to transform your circumstances in a way that will bring about the change that you desire and deliver the results that you want.