Years ago, I was having leadership issues in my company. I had opened a second location. And for the first time my team was divided in two different locations leaving me with less control. I was losing great people and I could feel my influence as a leader fading away fast.
Out of frustration, I decided to call one of my clients. Peter Gilgan, a Canadian billionaire who ran a team of over 1000 employees. If anyone knew how to lead it was him.
He said to me: “There’s two types of leaders. There’s leaders who rule people and there’s leaders who inspire people” he then went on explaining the need for me to move to a more inspirational role.
Maybe I had watched the movie Braveheart too many times but it was hard for me to remove that image of the leader on the front line trying to control everything.
Instead of telling people what to do I started listening, asking questions and trusting them from the start.
Inspirational leadership is more like the alpha in a pack of wolves. The alpha stays at the back so he can see everything and decide the direction.
Remember that water flows from the mountains to the ocean because the mountains are above it. Put people above you and energy flow to you.
Humility is the most underrated quality of a leader.
In the end your team needs to say “we did this” not “you did this”.
Also published on Medium.