How to Inspire Others as a Leader: Use Collective Inspiration

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Influencer" by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, et al.. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How do you inspire others as a leader? What is collective inspiration?

Collective inspiration is when you use the power of community connection to inspire people to adopt good practices. The book Influencer explains how you can use collective inspiration to influence others in your community or business.

Learn how to inspire others as a leader below.

Collective Inspiration

Humans are social creatures, and therefore our social relationships are a powerful resource to exert influence. The authors offer the following strategies as tools for capitalizing on social connection and learning how to inspire others as a leader.

(Shortform note: Humans’ innate desire to connect and build relationships isn’t only emotionally beneficial, but is also a crucial variable in our evolutionary success. Our empathy has allowed us to build collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships that have contributed to our survival.)

Start by acting like a leader. If you’re respected and trusted in your community, people are more likely to listen to your opinion and advice. The opposite is also true: If you lack the admiration and trust of the people you’re trying to influence, there’s very little you can do to persuade them to act. The authors suggest that selfless acts, like giving up time and money or apologizing when you make a mistake, are effective ways to build trust in your leadership. 

(Shortform note: Brendan Burchard, author of High Performance Habits, also points to generosity as a fundamental tool to become an influential leader. He argues that the more you give to the people around you, the more they’ll trust you. However, he adds that being able to ask for what you want and elevating people with words of encouragement and appreciation are also fundamental skills of influential leadership.)

Once you’ve established yourself as a leader, recruit other leaders. There are often a few people in any community others look to for guidance. The authors refer to these figures as “opinion leaders.” These community leaders often have a wealth of knowledge and a higher level of work or education experience than the general populace. Getting the unspoken leaders on board with your plans will have a disproportionately large impact on the larger community. 

(Shortform note: Opinion leaders are a part of the “informal network” of a company or community— a web of social ties that can exert as much influence, or more, than the formal leadership structure. Some change management experts recommend a “network analysis,” a survey of client relationships and attitudes, as a tool to identify members of the informal network who exert a disproportionate amount of influence.)

However, even with leaders on board, you’ll still likely have to transform the culture. One tool for changing culture is establishing widespread accountability. Each person should be responsible for themselves and for their team members to ensure that new cultural norms are followed. For example, the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign that was implemented after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York was an effort to shift the culture of public safety so that it became the responsibility of everyone instead of only the transit authority personnel. 

(Shortform note: While many organizational leaders talk about the importance of accountability in the workplace, there are ways that a culture of accountability can go wrong. For example, conversations about being held accountable often focus on negative or undesirable behaviors. If people feel as if they’re always being critiqued, they’ll become increasingly demoralized. A healthy culture of accountability must grow out of a commitment to the collective good, which requires celebrating successes in addition to areas of growth.)

How to Inspire Others as a Leader: Use Collective Inspiration

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, et al.'s "Influencer" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Influencer summary:

  • A three-step guide on how to influence human behavior
  • How to change the minds of those who are unmotivated to change
  • How you can use the power of community connection to inspire people

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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