Are you a Manager or Are you a Leader?
What is the essential difference?
In his classic 1977 and 2004 Harvard Business Review articles Professor Abraham Zaleznik (1) says that what elevates you from being a manager who manages scarce resources to being a leader is your ability to inspire those around you.
Inspire shares the same Latin root as ‘spirit,’ meaning the breath of life. So, to inspire literally means to breathe life into.
Inspirational leaders breathe vitality, passion, purpose and cohesion into those around them and into their organizations. Their teams are more committed, work harder, have lower turnover, greater team spirit and higher morale (2, 3).
This requires an intelligence and competency working with the intangible, inner elements, which affect the human inspiration and motivation, an intelligence that can be termed emotional and/or spiritual—even outside of a religious context.
What is Inspirational Leadership?
How you can improve?
CEOs from 42 companies plus 210 members of their staff helped to answer this question by participating in Yosi Amram’s PhD research study.
“I truly enjoyed and learned from the process and the questions (felt they were thoughtfully written). It’s hard, if not impossible to get this kind of feedback as a leader and especially as a CEO. Plus my team loved it. They appreciated the opportunity to give me feedback and assess their own abilities if they wanted to." - Paul
The research validated a comprehensive model of inspirational leadership (2) that was grounded in emotional and spiritual intelligence competencies. Since then we have worked with hundreds leaders, helping them to develop themselves along the following six dimensions of inspirational leadership:
1. Meaning: Mobilizing meaning for the organization by articulating a vision for service and instilling a sense of purpose. Meaning domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Vision, Service, and Purpose.
Vision: Painting a detailed and compelling picture of the future.
Service: Why are we here? Articulating how your work and organization add value to those around and the world.
Purpose: Focus and drive for you and your organization beyond money, including finding meaning in adversity, setbacks and in your challenges.
2. Positivity: Leading with passion and positive emotions to instill hope, trust, celebration, joy and fun. Positivity domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Optimism, Passion, Joy, Gratitude, and Beauty.
Optimism: Instilling optimism, hope, and confidence that things will work out for the best.
Passion: Bringing vitality, excitement and energy into your daily activities.
Joy: Experiencing and bringing fun and joy to your activities and work. Playfulness, joy and fun have been demonstrated to lead to greater creativity and success in problem solving.
Gratitude: Appreciating people, saying ‘thank you’, and celebrating your positive successes and accomplishments along the way.
Beauty: Valuing and noticing the beauty and creativity that is potential and uncovered in your work.
3. Team Spirit: Fostering relatedness, teamwork, cohesion and unity in the organization. Team Spirit domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Relatedness, Synthesis, Holism.
Relatedness: Feeling and cultivating connection and interpersonal relationship with others that are based on kinship, mutual understanding, empathy and compassion.
Synthesis: Finding connection and common ground by synthesizing conflicting, contradictory, or paradoxical viewpoints into a coherent wider and inclusive perspective.
Holism: Taking a wide and holistic “systems view” when looking at situations and problems.
4. Truth: Motivation that is based primarily on an open interest in the truth rather than in ego gratification. Truth domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Egolessness, and Openess.
Egolessness: Humility and non-defensive openness, and interest in hearing the truth from others’ perspective and their feedback.
Openness: Ability to be open, accepting, and curious about the truth without defense, resistance or resentment.
5. Presence: Showing up with your full attention, focus, clarity of intention and embodied power in every moment and each interaction. Presence domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Attention, Intention, and Empowerment.
Attention: Being focused, present, and attending to what and who is in front of you rather than letting your mind wonder off.
Intention: Awareness and clarity of purpose and goals in your engagements and interactions.
Empowerment: Personal power that is embodied, strong, and grounded.
6. Wisdom: Capacities and practices that empower you and provide a wide perspective by tapping into your intuition and inner wisdom. The Wisdom domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Higher Self, Devotion, Reflection & Relaxation, and Intuition.
Higher Self: The ability to connect with and receive guidance from parts of you that can tap into your inner wisdom.
Devotion: Power from alignment with, loyalty to, and devotion to a force or a cause greater than the individual self.
Practice: Applying practices to gain fresh new perspectives through times set for reflection, relaxation and recharge.
Intuition: The ability to tap your gut sense, instinctive feelings and other modes of knowing that augment strictly analytical and rational thinking in order to gain insight, creativity or make important decisions.
7. Inner-Directedness: Guiding yourself and others with inner confidence by aligning with your core values, authenticity, inner-freedom, and centeredness. Inner-Directedness domain further breaks down into the following capacities: Integrity, Freedom, Centered, and Confidence.
Integrity: Ability to discern and stand firm and in alignment with your values and truth.
Freedom: Ability to think and act creatively outside the box and break free from outside norms and conventions.
Centered: Ability to stay calm, centered and in command even when things are uncertain and chaotic around.
Confidence: Confident and comfortable being in your own skin and expressing your unique self.
“By participating I came up with 10 areas of improvement in my work, and more importantly, my life. It was also important to hear what my strengths are so I can continue to leverage them. Thanks!” - Laura
Inspirational Leadership Assessments:
If you are interested developing these capacities and becoming a more inspiring leader, you can use our assessments below. First let’s clarify what we mean by these assessments. Well, much like emotional intelligence (and other assessments for psychological constructs), our Inspirational Leadership assessment is based on academically validated and reliable instruments that that has been used and in dozens of research studies and translated into dozens of languages. However, it is also important to understand what these assessments provide and don’t provide. Given the instruments rely primarily on self-report, they do not claim to provide an objective absolute measure of Inspirational Leadership, like you might expect with an IQ test. Rather we provide a profile of YOUR OWN key strengths, other assets, and areas of greatest opportunity for growth. In other words, we might provide you with an assessment profile that identifies Confidence as an important strength and Purpose as opportunity. You might score ‘higher than average’ (compared to most people) on both, but relative to yourself Gratitude is more of a strength than Freedom. For someone else Freedom might be a key strength and Integrity might be an opportunity. Along with each competency area we provide some tips on how to apply that competency and further develop it.:
- Our Inspirational Leadership Report (ILR) provides an assessment of your qualities, strengths and opportunities in becoming a more powerful inspirational leader. As an inspirational leader you can breathe greater passion, purpose and cohesion into your organization. Based on our research (1), with greater inspirational leadership people in organizations are more committed, work harder, have greater team spirit, exhibit higher moral and lower turnover. Inspirational leaders leverage the 7 dimensions of leadership outlined above as they: mobilize meaning, bring positivity/passion, foster teamwork, are truth and reality oriented, show up in their powerful authentic presence, exhibit wisdom, and are confident and inner-directed. This self-assessment takes about 15-minutes answering 52 questions based on which you will receive a comprehensive report with your strengths and opportunities along 24 capacity areas related to these 7 dimensions of Inspirational Leadership. Click here to begin.
“I enjoyed taking the survey and reflecting on my decision-making, and leadership style. Gave me a lot of introspective thought and insight. And the coaching and lessons based on the results were invaluable. Thanks for the opportunity.” - Melissa
- Inspirational Leadership Report 360 (ILR-360) follows the same model as described above and in addition to your self-assessment you can invite others who work with you, be they work under, side-by-side, or above you organizationally to provide feedback on those same dimensions of leadership. Simply provide their emails and we will invite them to provide the feedback, which takes about 10-15 minutes for them to complete. Your 360-report compares your self-assessment to your 360-feedback and you get a picture of how accurate your self-perception is compared to how others experience you. You get to see if you tend to be accurate, or more humble or confident in your answers. We usually recommend, and most people purchase, an hour or an hour and a half of personalized coaching from one of our IntelligenSI certified coaches that you can choose from. Such coaching support can be invaluable in helping you interpret your results and how to apply and learn from your feedback. Click here to begin.
“I have greatly benefited from the quick process of taking this survey and reflecting on my leadership style, how and when I lead based on fear versus hope. Plus my team has enjoyed the process and liked the opportunity to give me anonymous feedback and assess their leadership abilities as well.” - Shawn
(1) Zaleznik, Abraham (2004) Managers and Leaders: Are They Different? Harvard Business Review (January).
(2) Amram, Yosi (2009). The Contribution of Emotional And Spiritual Intelligences to Effective Business Leadership (pdf). Doctoral dissertation, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA
(3) Amram, Y., Luskin, F., Posner, B., & Shapiro, S (2010). The Contribution of Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence To Explaining Leadership (pdf). ITP, Stanford, & Santa Clara University Working Paper, Palo Alto, CA.