Inspirational Leaders

Inspirational leadership can be difficult to describe. We might think we know a good leader when we see one, but have a harder time pinpointing the exact reasons why they are so successful. To further complicate matters, it’s easy to confuse management and leadership. While these roles may share many similarities, they are not exactly the same thing. A leader will always lead people while a manager may merely manage processes or things. Despite this possible confusion, at 100Ninjas we believe that integrity is a core characteristic of all good leaders. Without integrity, a leader is ineffective.According to New York Times Bestselling author Kevin Kruse, the definition of leadership can be described as:

“…a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

It is key to note that leadership does not require a title or even a formal position of authority. It is about the ability to influence others. Integrity plays a huge role in this since you cannot be a leader without also having integrity.

Great leaders can be found in all different kinds of industries and areas of business. We wanted to share with you a few key leaders who have inspired us in hopes that learning about them will inspire you, too!

Michael Dubin – CEO of the Dollar Shave Club
While his humor and sharp marketing instincts propelled Dollar Shave Club onto the scene and resulted in a $1billion sale to Unilever, it’s Michael Dubin’s commitment to maintaining a healthy work/life balance that makes him an important leader of note. One of his secrets to achieving this goal is to meditate both in the morning and the evening. He says, “After my meditation, I’m calmer, I’m more focused and I’ve got more energy.”
Takeaway: A leader who takes the time to take care of themselves will be able to take better care of others.

Gary Vaynerchuk – Chairman of VaynerX and CEO of VaynerMedia
Spend a minute on the internet and you will probably hear about Gary! Well known for his infectious energy and incredible drive, Gary has established his personal brand through multiple books, podcasts, and Youtube channels. He credits his father with teaching him when he was young that “My word is my bond,” and believes that your integrity is the most valuable currency you have. While he is CEO of VaynerMedia a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients and chairman of Vayner X, a media and communications company, Gary’s leadership and message extend to those he reaches through his online channels.
Takeaway: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Katrina Lake – CEO at Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix values innovation in all areas of their business and that extends to employee development. Every employee goes through the same leadership training because Katrina and the company believe that every employee has the capacity to be a leader. In addition to developing the employee, this training helps keep the leadership team accountable to their own professed core values.
Takeaway: Communicate and train everyone in your values so that your company operates with integrity.

Sylvia Metayer – CEO of Sodexo Corporate Services Worldwide
Sylvia embodies the attributes of a servant-leader and firmly believes that despite her title, her role is to support her employees and clients. Believing that everyone can learn from those around them regardless of their position or title, she seeks to keep communication open between leadership and employees. Sylvia acknowledges that the world is constantly changing and preparing employees for change is a key part of her position.
Takeaway: Stay open and listen to the experiences and knowledge of others.

Brittany Merrill Underwood – Founder and CEO of Akola Jewelry
Akola Jewelry is a non-profit social business dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished women in disadvantaged communities. Brittany’s dedication and drive helped make Akola Jewelry the first full-impact brand to be sold in luxury spaces. Her commitment to improving the lives of others hasn’t gone unnoticed as she has received several accolades for her work with the company. Her desire to make an impact hasn’t diminished as the company continues to grow and influence other brands.
Takeaway: Empower yourself and others to make a difference in the world.

Ari Weinzweig – Co-Owner & Founding Partner of Zingerman’s
Author of multiple books, including the Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading series, which includes Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business.  Ari has been demonstrating good leadership and integrity in his role for many years. Amongst many leadership qualities Weinzweig, along with his partner Saginaw, are some of the first leaders to push opportunities for employee ownership, open book management and visioning. Because of their integrity in the workplace, Zingerman’s is now known to be committed to diversity and an advocate for anti-oppression and anti-racism.
Takeaway: Believe in your employees ability to succeed and support them along the journey.

Galahad Clark – Founder and CEO of Vivobarefoot
Galahad describes himself as a shoemaker. In fact, his family has been shoemakers for 7 generations. Galahad branched out into barefoot shoes and aimed to create the most sustainable shoe business on the planet. Currently sales of Vivo are rapidly rising, smashing through the $40million mark. Meanwhile Galahad, always driven to do more, continues to create and run social enterprises that give profits to local African community projects in Ethiopia. And yes, his shoes are arguably the most sustainable; good for you and the planet.
Takeaway: Consider the impact of your product environmentally as well as economically.

Greta Thunberg – Swedish Environmental Activist
Greta was concerned about climate change and began protesting outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 at the age of 15. While she was only focused on what she could do to make a change, she inspired others to join the fight. She continues to challenge politicians and scientists about their disregard for the seriousness of the state of the world. In April this year she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Takeaway: You are never too young to be a leader.

We want to know who inspires you! Tell us about a leader who has impacted you personally or inspires you from afar. Send us a tweet on Twitter, or message us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Follow us to stay up to date with 100Ninjas!