You might remember a while ago we talked about why you should think about getting your organisation accredited by Investors in People (IIP). If you’ve not read that blog yet, you can catch it here, and then come back and read this.

We also said we’d produce a series of blogs about what you need to do if you like what you read and think you’d like to be a part of it.

So, true to our word, here’s the first of those blogs.

IIP has produced its own standard with three performance headings – leading, supporting and improving – with another three key indicators under each of these headings meaning there’s nine areas in total to talk about. Our blogs will concentrate on one heading.

This week, it’s leading and inspiring people, the first key indicator under leading. Here’s what IIP says it means:

Leaders make the organisation’s objectives clear. They inspire and motivate people to deliver against these objectives and are trusted by people in the organisation.’

You’ve probably got your own ideas about what makes someone an inspiring leader. It could be a sportsman who leads by example, or someone who’s achieved something against the odds. But in organisations, what does it really mean?

Firstly it’s not just those right at the top that need to be inspirational. It applies to anyone who has any sort of leadership role so they can get the best out of their people.

To successfully lead and inspire others, managers need to be able to motivate people so they want to give them their best. This needs two-way respect and trust. Managers need to trust people to get on with their jobs to the best of their ability, and people need to trust their managers to treat them fairly.

Inspirational leaders gain respect by setting the tone, showing humility and following things through. They listen to others’ point of view, show empathy and understand how to engage and empower people through recognition and showing how much they’re valued.

Hopefully you’ve noticed we’ve mentioned trust a few times. This is because it’s perhaps the most important leadership trait you need to truly inspire. If people feel you trust them implicitly, they’ll perform to a high level. Accountability goes hand-in-hand with trust here too – people who are accountable for something tend to do it so much better.

People also need to know what the organisation they’re working for is trying to achieve. Inspirational leaders are masters at letting them know what the organisational aims are, both financially and culturally. Like accountability, people feel more empowered to perform if they feel they belong to a common cause or aim.

It’s about give and take on both sides. Leaders can trust their people to do their job, and people feel trusted to get on with things. Both parties need to be prepared to show a bit of give and take at times to keep this happening.

So now you know what IIP will be looking for when it comes to leading and inspiring people, ask yourself these questions: does your organisation have leaders at every level who inspire others to do their best? Are your people empowered and trusted to carry out their role without being micro-managed?

If you’d like a few pointers to help you say ‘yes’ to these questions, please get in touch. We’d love to help.