Inspired employees are more than twice as productive as satisﬁed employees, according to new research from Bain & Co.
What makes a leader inspirational?
The most important attribute is centeredness, Bain said in a recent brief: “How Leaders Inspire: Cracking the Code.” Bain defined centeredness as “a state of greater mindfulness, achieved by engaging all parts of the mind to be fully present.” Centeredness is essential to effective leadership, improving the ability to stay level-headed, cope with stress, empathize with others and listen more deeply.
Centeredness is the central attribute of the Bain Inspirational Leadership Model, a set of characteristics the company found to be statistically significant in creating inspiration in others.
Bain divided the other 32 characteristics into four quadrants based on the type of interactions with which they’re most closely associated—noting that an individual does not need to have an attribute from each quadrant to be effective.
- Developing inner resources: stress tolerance, self-regard, emotional self-awareness, flexibility, independence, self-actualization, emotional expression, optimism.
- Connecting with others: vitality, humility, empathy, development, assertiveness, listening, expressiveness, commonality.
- Setting the tone: worldview, openness, shared ambition, responsibility, follow through, recognition, balance, unselfishness.
- Leading the team: vision, focus, harmony, empowerment, co-creation, servanthood, sponsorship.
Having even one of these attributes nearly doubles your chances of inspiring others, Bain found—and the more distinguishing strengths you have, the more inspirational you can be. According to the research, an individual exhibiting none of these 32 characteristics has only a 33 percent likelihood of inspiring others. The likelihood jumps to 62 percent for someone who has just one of these attributes, while an individual demonstrating four or more of these strengths has a 91 percent chance of being inspirational.
For more information, including definitions for each of the 32 characteristics, see “How Leaders Inspire: Cracking the Code.”