Inspiration is powerful stuff. Inspired people are fully energised and clearly focused, which means they are strongly motivated and engaged in the action they take. These are prized qualities in the workplace – a manager’s dream! – yet inspired colleagues are a rarity.

Too many managers and leaders look for ways to inspire their people while remaining locked into uninspired behaviour themselves. This is doomed to failure! Instead, here are the 5 principles behind success.

1. Being inspired is a prerequisite for inspiring those around you

It’s a matter of congruence – walking the talk. If someone deliberately sets out to inspire you and they are not themselves inspired, the falsehood is obvious. Would you be inspired by someone who is not inspired themselves? So, as Gandhi put it, “Be the change you want to see”.

2. The resulting insights help you to inspire others

By becoming more aware of how you are inspired, you will gain insights into how other people become inspired. This is not a simplistic assumption that whatever inspires you will inspire everybody else but a deeper understanding of the mechanism of inspiration and how techniques that work for you can be adapted to work with others.

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For example, a clear sense of purpose is an inspiring experience. However the particular purpose that works for you may not be the same purpose that inspires your colleague. But what is true is that a sense of purpose, whatever the difference in detail, is important for both of you.

3. Inspiration is contagious!

This is perhaps the most obvious reason – the low-hanging fruit – why you need to be inspired first. If you did nothing else there would still be some positive impact on those around you. People love to be with inspired individuals because some of it automatically rubs off.

4. Inspiring your team is an act of leadership

Inspiring others is a key leadership skill. You are the leader of your team and, whether you choose it or not, each member looks to you as a role model. To some degree your behaviour will be copied – you need to be out in front.

5. Inspiration will sustain you in your role in leading the team

Consistently inspiring a team takes energy, focus, creativity and resilience. You will have these qualities in far greater abundance when you are inspired. Without inspiration, your efforts are likely to exhaust you as well as being ineffective.