Brenda’s Blog – January 12, 2016
“Were they inspired or directed?”
After the horrific tragedy in San Bernardino, a parsing of words began which befuddled most – to the point of bemusement. The pundits argued over influence: inspired or directed? Apparently, this made a huge difference to them. But it was certainly not an argument worth pursuing by the families of those who lost loved ones.
In the past weeks I have been considering those terms as we look at leadership styles. Do you exercise persuasion and inspiration or are you more directive? What does that say about you? About those you influence?
We think of role models as sources of inspiration rather than direction because they have no solid line relationship to us. We think of parents with more behavioral control. As a grandmother I clearly understand my realm of authority in the inspirational category. Of course, there are circumstances when I exert “direction,” but for the most part, I employ the persuasion mode.
How do you like to be led? Is it more comfortable to be shown by example or given explicit instructions? Or perhaps you like a combination of the two. Currently, many volunteers help me in my non-profit work. The age old cliché of volunteer organization as “herding cats” is sometimes accurate. The art of persuasion is more often used and the skill of persuasion is necessary to light fires which activate.
Which form of leadership is longer lasting? And is there a difference between inspiration and motivation? Does one have a longer lasting shelf life? Whatever results in permanent change is more effective. My sweet neighbor who leads a weight loss group repeatedly talks about “life change, not short periods of food deprivation.” When someone is motivated to alter a pattern, inspired activity occurs, then serious transformation is realized.
Consider yourself and those around you, asking the question: “Am I leading in a way appropriately evoking the highest and best response?” Next time, decide if inspiration or direction is the best way to go.