What is inspirational leadership like?
I was about to write a short story of role models and inspirations. You know, people like Richard Branson (whom I actually met once!) or Tony Fernandes. Both of them had taken a large amount of risks while trying to fulfill their professional and personal goals.
Branson, for his part, had saved the Virgin Group from the brink of bankruptcy – which loomed a single night away. Fernandes founded an airline that would eventually shake the industry with a new business model based on low fares, even though he had no experience of aviation.
So that was the initial plan. But instead, I’ll write down something useful – something that you can practice in your everyday work. What made Branson and Fernandes unique?
First of all, both Fernandes and Branson had what I’d call a challenger mindset. Moreover, they thought big enough to overcome some tremendously high boundaries. Such traits are often found in people who favor doing over obeying – even if doing calls for some rule bending.
I would boil this mindset down to three rules:
- Think big
- Forget artificial boundaries and act
- If it works, the rest will follow – if not, try something else
Those things create something I’d call inspirational leadership. You can (really, I can’t stress this enough) exercise these rules basically anywhere – even in global stock companies full of boundaries and bureaucracy. That was also my perception of Tieto before I started. As it turned out, my preconception was proven wrong. There is indeed room for impact at Tieto.
The basic thing is to be active enough. If you have an idea, book a meeting and explain what would be the goal, what’s the reason to support your project, and show how it would shape the industry. You should not fear the unknown or what others might think about you. Change often comes from the margins. Anyone can catalyze action.
As you get older and grow wiser, you should not become more careful. If you have a steady career, it means you have more knowledge. It is your responsibility to apply that knowledge and go for the impossible.
So my suggestion is rather simple. Search for resources and possibilities in your surroundings, inspire others and lead by example. The rest will follow.