Our Favorite 5: How to Become a Inspirational Leader

Being a leader is more than telling others what to do. Delegation is part of any leadership style, but the great leaders make history by getting down in the trenches, leading the charge, and inspiring their followers. Here are the top leadership stories we stumbled upon this week to help you become a natural leader.


The case for more sleep.

It’s become the norm for leaders to skimp on sleep. President Obama revealed in his 2010 Vanity Fair profile that he only gets 6 hours of shut-eye a night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 7 hours of sleep for adults over 26, yet many leaders are celebrated for their minimalist sleep habits.

According to Nick van Dam and Els van der Helm’s latest HBR article, “There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep,” this may not be the best plan. Van Dam and van der Helm delve into the effect sleep (or lack thereof) has on our brain and cognitive ability. “Research shows that after roughly 17 to 19 hours of wakefulness…individual performance level on a range of tasks is equivalent to that of a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%.” Pushing beyond 20 hours leaves individuals equal to “that of someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.1%, which meets the legal definition of drunk in the United States.”

What’s to be done? Van Dam and van der Helm suggest developing training programs in your organization to help make the behavioral change and rework company policies to encourage rest after work hours. Read their entire article here.


It just comes natural.

Some are lucky to have natural leadership instincts from birth. They know exactly how to inspire charisma, loyalty and create change in their followers. Unfortunately, not all of us are so lucky.

Jennifer Cohen’s Forbes article, “6 Qualities of Every Natural Born Leader” offers a step-by-step guide for those of us who may not have inherited the effortless leadership gene. Out of her six tips, these were my top three:

  • Leading isn’t just telling others what to do – it’s listening and considering their opinions and ideas.
  • Make lists. Lists keep you on track to meet your goals. Natural born leaders know exactly what’s needed to meet a goal, what’s done, and what’s left to do.
  • At the heart of it, leaders lead. Take the initiative instead of waiting for someone else to tell you what to do.

Cohen makes it easy to step up and take the reins. Check out her article here!


Make it a habit.

Many business leaders wear multiple hats on a daily basis to meet their business goals and make their business a success. It can quickly become overwhelming and discourage even the most passionate entrepreneur.

Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of Lead From Within, knows how hard this struggle can be. In her recent INC article, “7 Smart Habits of the Most Successful Leaders,” Daskal shares her tried and true strategies to stay on top of the leadership ball, like prioritizing tasks, making an effort to continuously learn, and relying on your strengths to take you to the top. Read her entire article here for more leadership tips!


Slow it down.

We live in an incredibly fast-paced, instant gratification world. From groceries to clothes, we’re used to getting what we want in days at the very most. The pressure to rush has extended into the workplace, more often than not creating an unnecessary sense of urgency.

Kimber Lockhart delves into the dangers of fostering urgency in her latest Medium post. Succumbing to the mad rush to complete a project may get it done, but how well? “Trying to create urgency reflects the age-old confusion of hurrying with speed – the misguided notion that if you’re not always hurrying, you’re already behind,” she warns.

She suggests creating a sense of purpose instead. A sense of purpose will help your team feel invested in their projects and more comfortable going above the call of duty to make a customer happy. Creating purpose in your team may not slow them down: “…the passion and purpose latent in your team might just cause the right things to get done at the right time.” Check out the rest of her article here!


Build loyalty.

There are many elements to being a great boss, but inspiring loyalty in your team is key. Loyal employees become as invested in your business’s success as you are.

Inspiring loyalty may feel like a herculean task, but Murray Newlands’ tips in his latest Entrepreneur article “Inspire Loyalty With Your Leadership: Here’s How” make it easy.

  • Lead by example. Don’t be afraid to get down in the trenches with your employees.
  • Remember the little things. Acknowledge moments in your employees’ lives, like weddings, new babies, and graduations.
  • Be honest. Create open, honest communication with your team to develop a stronger relationship than attempting to hide or disguise information.

It may not be easy, but finding that connection with your team is key to building up a strong business. Your employees are your best brand representatives, your front line of customer interaction, and the support system for your business. Check out the rest of his article here!

Leadership isn’t easy, but these tips will hopefully help lift some of the burden. What are your top leadership tips? Share with us below!

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