New Zenger Folkman Research: The Six Effective Approaches to Inspiring Leadership

- New research reveals evidence-based approaches to becoming an inspiring leader-

May 20, 2013, 06:07 ET from Zenger Folkman

SALT LAKE CITY, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent IBM study asked top executives what they want most from their leaders. The top trait that emerged: Inspiring leadership. Most people believe that the ability to inspire comes from an inherited "charisma" some people are born with. However, Zenger Folkman, a leading authority on strength-based leadership, has discovered six evidence-based approaches to inspiring leadership that are both diverse and effective.


"When you talk with leaders who want to be more inspiring, you often get a 'deer in the headlights' reaction," said Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger Folkman. "They simply do not know what to do. Many assume they need to be the cheerleader who can break out with a brilliant speech at any given moment. However, we have found there are very different and effective ways to inspire."

Zenger Folkman's research involved a study of leaders in their database who received the highest scores on the competency of "inspires and motivates to high performance." They identified 1,000 such leaders and analyzed what it was that separated these stars from their less inspiring counterparts. They found six consistent and effective approaches these leaders used to motivate their employees. These effective leaders used the first four approaches the most, but used the final two strategies as well:

  1. Visionary—providing a clear picture of the future and being able to communicate it to the team
  2. Enhancing—creating positive one-on-one relationships along with team relationships by being a great listener and connecting emotionally with people
  3. Driver—displaying a focused pursuit to reach goals, complete tasks on time and generally being accountable for personal and group performance
  4. Principled—providing a powerful role model of doing the right things in the right way
  5. Enthusiast—exuding passion and energy about the organization, its goals and the work itself. 
  6. Expert—providing a strong technical direction that comes from deep expertise

"The important 'aha' often comes when people discover there are other ways to inspire when they previously assumed being inspiring required them to be an enthusiast," explained Joseph Folkman, president of Zenger Folkman.

To learn more about these approaches and other studies about inspiring leadership, attend Zenger Folkman's upcoming webinar Unlocking the Secrets of Inspiring Leadership, with Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman. A whitepaper of this research is also available for download at

About Zenger Folkman:

Zenger Folkman is the authority is strengths-based leadership development. Their award-winning programs employ research-based methods that improve organizations and turn good managers into extraordinary leaders.

SOURCE Zenger Folkman