Great organizations rise and fall on the capabilities of their leaders. Great leaders are not necessarily always well-liked, but they have the inordinate ability to inspire people far beyond their “believed capacity” or what they think they can do. While Steve Jobs is by far not without his detractors, there is no doubt that he built a strong and enduring legacy in Apple. He didn’t do it alone, of course, but there can be no doubt that he was ultimately the driving force behind it all. Here are three ways that great leaders inspire their teams to do the impossible.
They don’t recognize failure
Winston Churchill is most commonly attributed as saying that success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. The only way to do this is not to see failure as failure. Thomas Edison tried 1,000 different experiments before hitting on the one that ended in a working lightbulb. When asked about it, he said: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times, I simply found 999 ways that didn’t work.” Great leaders don’t waste time looking for someone to blame when things go wrong or don’t work out as expected. They learn what they can from experience and move along.
They understand grand visions aren’t achieved overnight
A great journey doesn’t just start with a single step; it generally consists of thousands, if not millions of small individual steps. While all leaders have to have a vision, visionary leaders are often impatient and lose steam over the long haul. Great leaders have to inspire their teams to dream greatly and then inspire them just as much to embrace the long, seemingly never-ending daily grind of achieving them.
They don’t put too much emphasis on the outcome
While we all long to accomplish the impossible, the reason we don’t generally try for it is that we can just as easily end up falling on our face – sometimes in a very public and spectacular way. While great leaders need to inspire their teams to dream big, they also have to help minimize the fear of failure. One way of doing this is by reducing the importance of the ultimate outcome and maximizing the value of the journey itself. As Norman Vincent Peale said “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Even if you don’t end up achieving your impossible goal, you will most likely land far further than you ever imagined you could.