A Harvard Business Review article by Scott Barry Kaufman entitled, “Why Inspiration Matters” reveals why inspiration is so inspiring. Kaufman’s article cites research by several scholars to further support his hypothesis that inspiration matters. 

In my own research, I took an interest in the work Kaufman cited from psychologists, Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliott, who points out three core aspects of inspiration which are – evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation. Kaufman’s article introduces Thrash and Elliott’s findings about characteristics inspired people share. 

For example, inspired folks have a stronger drive to master their work. They often possess physiological resources such as: 

  • Creativity
  • Perceived competence
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Greater optimism.

“When the storyteller tells the truth, she reminds us that human beings are more alike than unalike…A story is what it’s like to be a human being – to be knocked down and to miraculously arise.  Each one of us has arisen, awakened.  We do rise.” 

  • Maya Angelou

Storytelling is a powerful, impactful way to influence decisions and inspire action. As stories are shared between people, the neocortex brain goes to sleep; basically, chilling out to prevent overthinking. The limbic system, the “emotional brain”, begins firing on all cylinders. 

Effective leaders understand this principle, so they can master the art of influence. The more emotional connections leaders can ignite, the more success they’ll realize leading and inspiring people to buy into their vision. Why?  Emotions drive decisions to act, not logic. 

For leaders who lead with hospitality, storytelling is also an impactful way to influence and inspire change, alignment, and action among our teams. Just as stories influence and “inspire” consumers to buy, they also inspire teams to buy in and follow the leader, so to speak. 

“Customers will never love a company until employees love it first.” 

  • Simon Sinek

The only thing better than an inspiring story is an inspiring experience. Leaders who lead with hospitality understand this, and actively seek ways to provide their teams with experiences that will inspire them. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, however it must be experiential. 

Every job, in every company, in every industry on the planet eventually becomes mundane. Seemingly menial tasks stack up in our inbox. It’s a fact of life. So, to those who accept the challenge of leadership and who feel compelled to lead with hospitality, we have a rewarding and fulfilling opportunity before us. 

As leaders of people and teams, we can and will transform sometimes-menial jobs into truly meaningful work, one story and personally crafted, inspirational experience at a time. 

Inspire your teams with stories, experiences, and meaningful work:

  • Leverage Stories. Tell stories, write stories, share stories, and listen when they tell you stories. Encourage storytelling among everyone in the organization. Remember emotion drives the decision-making process, not logic. The more we tell stories up, down, over, and across the organization, the more emotionally connected and invested everyone becomes in delivering their best to bring the vision to life. 
  • Create and Offer Valuable Experiences.  Stories spark inspiration. Experiences make those priceless moments of inspiration last in our memory for years. Seek out and encourage opportunities for your team to take part in new, thought provoking, and comfort zone challenging experiences. Minds will be broadened, and perspectives will expand. Ultimately, the bar will be raised on everyone’s potential for progress.
  • Seek inspiration.  Actively pursue opportunities to feed your mind, your body, and especially your soul.  Successful athletes who master their craft don’t get there by accident.  They wake up every single day with a thirst and hunger to become their very best.  They not only eat the right foods to get proper nutrition, they also feed their mind.  Successful leaders do the same.  
  • Podcasts, books like this one and countless others, audiobooks, Ted Talks, conferences, community groups, faith-based organizations, and even small groups with friends, coworkers, or like-minded people, pursuing self-mastery are all ways to grow yourself so you can grow your team and others.  It’s amazing how when you actively seek inspiration, you become an inspiration to other people
  • Create Meaning.  Make it meaningful for them, utilizing one, a few, or all the tactics for leading with hospitality.  

If you make their work matter, they’ll make it happen for you and your organization.

Have a great day.

PS: Learn how to stay open to new experiences, develop and live your own personal leadership brand, and inspire others with a culture of storytelling and by creating memorable workplace experiences. Learn more about my learning experience, “Becoming Inspired to Inspire” here.