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Bain Inspirational Leadership System

Bain Inspirational Leadership System

Our Approach

Our Approach

We’ve built a powerful model based on four foundational principles and 33 distinct elements. This proven approach enables your leaders to inspire as never before.

Design Principles

Design Principles

A specific set of research-based design principles differentiates our approach:

 

Key Insights

Key Insights

Diving deeper into leadership, we built a model based on four foundational principles:

Leadership Model

Leadership Model

 

What do employees find inspirational?


The Bain Inspirational Leadership System is made up of 33 elements we have identified as statistically significant for inspiring others. While every person is inspired by a different combination of these skills, they all collectively matter to your employees regardless of their role within your organization. The skills below are categorized into four groups based on the type of interactions they’re most closely associated with.

Skills most relevant in leading yourself

Skills most relevant in one-on-one interactions

Skills most relevant in group settings when you’re not the structural or formal leader

Skills most relevant in formal leadership positions

Individual Application

Individual Application

When it comes to application, the strengths-based nature of our leadership model encourages you to focus on what you’re good at, rather than trying to be exceptional at all of the elements of inspiration. Research proves that leaders need only demonstrate a handful of strengths to have a high likelihood of inspiring the people they work with.

  • What is a strength?

    We use a robust definition of strengths, based on research and validated by our own analytics. The best assessment of your strengths is in your comparison with your peers.

    • Distinguishing strengths are elements for which you are in the top decile versus your peers.
    • Potential distinguishing strengths are elements for which you are in the 70th to 90th percentile; these are still notable strengths and can become even stronger with time and investment.
    • Neutral elements occupy the large middle section between the 10th and 70th percentile. Note that this is a departure from the typical definition of neutral as average; there is a wide band of elements considered neutral in this strengths-based approach.
    • Weaknesses are elements for which you are in the bottom decile; if crucial to your professional and personal responsibilities, they are worth investigating as they may negatively impact your ability to inspire.
  • How many strengths do I need to inspire others?

    Building even one distinguishing strength gives you a likelihood of inspiring at least half of the people you work with. Recognizing that you don’t need to master all elements to be inspirational, we encourage you to choose four distinguishing strengths for your unique and reinforced leadership brand.

  • How do I determine my strengths?

    With the help of 360° surveys, self-assessments, and structured reflection, we help you create your own leadership brand. This is both art and science, including analytical input from others and deep personal reflection. The four elements of your leadership brand may be skills you’ve already mastered, have the potential to master, or are very passionate about.

Collective Deployment

Collective Deployment

Our ambition for the clients we work with is that everyone experiences, learns and demonstrates inspirational leadership—transforming their daily interactions and creating differentiated personal assets and professional results.

When working with clients on collective deployment of a more inspirational approach, we:

  • Provide a methodology to articulate the attributes that drive inspiration in a statistically significant manner for a specific employee population
  • Create a common language around the skills and themes that improve collective leadership capability
  • Build awareness of each person’s authentic strengths through 360° surveys, self-assessments and structured reflection
  • Support the creation of individualized personal development plans
  • Promote everyday use through pragmatic tactics and tools to expand centeredness and inspiration
  • Build out an ecosystem of inspiration through embedding in antecedents to prompt behaviors and consequences to reinforce it (e.g., performance systems, communications plans, structured rewards)
  • Use the foundation of inspiration to expand the leadership dialogue with additional content and tools