Being a father and a pastor has provided me with the opportunity to learn a lot about leadership, failure, success and a variety of other subjects.
The current topic du jour that is occupying my brain space is that of persuasion and inspiration.
These are two leadership strategies that parents and leaders unknowingly or knowingly utilize on a daily basis. Leaders (and I define parents as leaders also) are constantly petitioning their audience in some way, shape or form. The desire and longing is to motivate or cause a shift or change to take place. Parents desire to motivate their kids toward a desired outcome. Leaders desire to motivate their followers towards a preferred future. In these moments of petitioning, the leadership challenge is knowing which motivation strategy is needed for the current situation.
Here are 3 things I'm learning about how to persuade and inspire:
1. Inspiration is more powerful than persuasion. Inspiring others is about motivating them to make their own decision that may or may not align the leader's desired outcome. Persuasion is about convincing another person to agree with a decision that has already been made. The parenting strategy with younger children is predominantly built on persuasion. But as children get older, persuasion must morph into inspiration so that kids may be able to think critically and choose wisely. As a leader, do you hope that the people you serve are choosing wisely, or simply accepting the decisions you've already made for them?
2. There is a time for everything. There are times when a leader must use persuasion in order to avert disaster or minimize conflict. There are other times when a leader needs to inspire his or her audience to think beyond themselves towards a preferred future that will require them to make a conscience choice to change. The challenge is knowing when its' appropriate to inspire and when its' appropriate to persuade.
3. A leader must be moved. Unless you are willing to be persuaded or inspired by someone else, you cannot expect others to be persuaded or inspired by you. I find myself drawn to biblical leaders that inspire me to live differently, in addition to contemporary leaders who persuade me to think differently. Persuasion concerns the transformative pursuit of the intellect, and inspiration concerns the transformative pursuit of the will. Utilizing these leadership strategies demands both growth and movement from the leader and the audience.
Persuasion or inspiration? Which do you think is more powerful or relevant for today's leader and parent?