Several years ago, I was part of an extraordinarily successful organization. Then, something  unfortunate happened. The president of the organization moved to another state. She was so full of encouragement, insight, and warmth the room truly did seem to brighten when she entered. The person who replaced her had many strengths of her own. However, her personality differed remarkably from the original leader. She had served as second in command for several years. Because the former director was so exceptional, I believe the new leader was insecure she would be compared unfavorably. The positive spirit that had once existed was replaced with a sense of control. People began to leave.

How did everything unravel? The original leader had confidence and was committed to empowering those around her. With the changing of the guard, the new leadership team seemed threatened by its members. They no longer encouraged people to use their creativity and talents to enhance the organization unless it served them.

Can you recall positive and negative work environments you have experienced? It is remarkable how much the head of an organization affects its vitality. While cultures can change, it is important to do all you can to seek out environments which inspire and empower the leadership.

Another lesson to be learned from the story above is how important it is to inspire those you lead. Much can be learned by studying those who do this well. Are you doing what you can to support others? Have the courage to ask for some honest feedback from those who know you best. Are you a positive person? Do others feel uplifted when they are around you?

While it is true some are more expressive than others, the ability to inspire is a skill that can be learned. A book I highly recommend is Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude written by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone. It is full of excellent insight and practical ways to improve in this area. Like the director mentioned at the beginning, you can become a leader who makes the atmosphere seem to brighten when you enter. I want to lead like that, don’t you?