7 powerful characteristics of a truly inspiring leader

The ability to inspire is one of the most important leadership skills that separates great leaders from the middle. While there are many admirable bosses, there are only a handful of leaders who can infuse energy, passion, and connection into their actions and behaviors. Coupled with a clear vision, mission and commitment to integrity that guides them in all they do to make the world a better place.

Oprah, Michelle Obama and Michael Jordan are known selfless role models who continue to inspire people around the world. Dr. Alyn Waller, pastor of Church of the Tabernacle of Énon in Philadelphia, PA, shared “When you’re an inspiring leader, you’re able to tell people and explain to them what you’re doing and where you’re going, and that makes them want to walk with you. “

Data Harvard Business School collected from nearly 50,000 executives learned that “the ability to inspire creates the highest levels of employee engagement and engagement.” Further away research conducted by Bain found that “inspired employees are twice as productive as satisfied employees.” As a result, companies know 21% more profitability, a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover.

Here are seven powerful characteristics that create truly inspiring leaders.

Commitment to values

Inspirational leaders are values ​​driven and lead from a deep sense of purpose and responsibility to create positive change. They have a clear understanding of their values ​​and don’t give in under pressure in situations where they would need to sacrifice their values ​​to get a result. That might not always make them popular, and despite the hate they receive, inspiring leaders recognize that it’s not always easy to be ethical, but it is fair.

Whatever the popular opinion, inspiring leaders stand up for what is right and fight against injustice. They act with integrity because they know employees are always watching and every action counts. Because of this, they stay true to their values ​​and incorporate them into everything they do. Dr Waller added “an inspiring leader embodies the principles of the very thing he is trying to lead.”

Invested in personal development

In order to continue to grow, leaders understand the importance of investing in their development. Liz Brown, founder of Sleeping Lucid, asserted that “inspiring leaders have a strong sense of who they are and are aware of their limitations.” Because of this, they recognize their weaknesses and always seek feedback to hone their skills. They know they are not the smartest person in the room and they rejoice in that because it pushes them to improve. As such, they view every opportunity, positive or negative, as an opportunity to learn.

Shine with authenticity

Leaders are able to connect with others because they are open to sharing their struggles, their stories, and their journey of what it took to get to where they are today. They recognize that their differences are what make them unique. Authenticity inspires authenticity. What they are at work is who they are at home, in the community and with their friends. They don’t wear different masks and treat everyone with respect and dignity.

Ethan Taub, CEO of Goalkeeper and Ready said: “To be a leader means to have the strength to be different and proud. It takes courage to be who you are in a world where there is only one box, but people need it, especially these days. Being able to help everyone understand the world and where it fits is something few do, but many have. ”

Skillful communicators

Not all communications are verbal and come in many forms. For example, actively listening, ignoring distractions, and making eye contact show others that they are valued. Body language alone communicates and builds trust and honesty. Patti Wood, MA, body language and communication expert, Inspirational Shared Leaders are great at matching and reflecting nonverbal cues and emotions in the room so others feel valued and understood.

When it comes to having difficult conversations, they know how to effectively communicate negative feedback in a way that doesn’t disengage the employee. When a member of their team is not meeting their goals, they take the time to sit down and tackle the root cause. From there, they work with the employee to determine how best to support the employee and give them the tools to be successful.

Encourage unity

Collaboration is an essential ingredient for an engaged and successful team. Inspirational leaders know the strengths and weaknesses of their team. This allows them to find ways to foster unity through peer mentoring, team projects or cross training. Unity is crucial for success, otherwise teams become siled. Liz Armbruester, Senior Vice President of Global Compliance at Avalara, expressed “nothing is more destructive for a team than a leader who does not want to collaborate”.

Inspirational leaders are engaged and motivated by the success of their team. Disruption and innovation are the result of creating an environment where people can come together to share their experiences, knowledge, opinions and ideas. Embracing collaboration helps individuals learn from each other while pushing them out of their comfort zone to achieve great things. In turn, employees gain confidence in their abilities and want to take more.

Accessible and inclusive

Instead of leading with emotions or fear-based tactics to get results, they focus on creating an environment in which their employees feel comfortable coming and talking to them. Accessible and inclusive leaders listen more than they speak, value diversity, welcome mistakes, reward originality, and appreciate the unique differences of others. Varying levels of work styles and personalities can create conflict and a disconnected team. Inspirational leaders know how essential it is to ensure that each individual is treated fairly and respectfully, feels a sense of belonging, and is psychologically safe. Therefore, create a strong and inclusive team culture.

Creating an inclusive culture focuses on the team as a collective rather than taking credit from others. Anton Smith, Director, Outreach and Engagement, shared his boss, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, President and CEO of Do a good job, “Is very inclusive and we never hear him say” I, me, mine “because he always uses” we, us, our “. Smith added, “It motivates us to do our best because we know we are included and are part of the business. “

Embrace vulnerability and risk

Taking risks is an essential part of leadership. Rosa Parks, Henry Ford and Elon Musk are some of the leaders who have made a difference in this world by taking courageous risk with no guarantee of success. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “With great risk comes great reward.” Even if things don’t go as planned, inspiring leaders use the lessons of their rejections and failures to pivot their strategy and teach others what they have learned. Likewise, they are not afraid to take ownership of their mistakes by reminding employees that they are human. Their optimism and passion to realize their vision shows that there is always a solution even if it requires some setbacks and new plans.


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