As a leader, it’s part of your charge to be the positive force inspiring others to achieve a vision. But how do you go about doing that?
If you were to simply look at the styles of some of the world’s most famous leaders, you might come to the conclusion that the only way to lead is to be forceful, energetic or charismatic. It might seem you have to be outgoing and extroverted. It might even seem like you just have to be born with it.
But research shows that being a great leader has less to do with genetics than with learned behavior. Studies show that leadership is 24 percent natural-born ability and 76 percent learned. Up to 60 percent of leadership traits — like trust, humility and positivity — are developed over time.
With that in mind, here are seven of the top traits you’ll find in inspirational leaders:
- Positive energy
- Deep listening
- Taking time to recharge emotional batteries
- Clear sense of vision and values
That list of leadership traits also makes it clear that the stereotypical picture of the hard-charging CEO or relentless, demanding visionary is not necessarily the stuff of great leadership. Leaders who inspire their people are much more likely to lead from a clear sense of purpose, be self-aware and aware of the feelings of others, and practice humility. They’re authentic, listen deeply and stay centered when the going gets tough.
Traits like these are certain to show themselves in behaviors — the kind of behaviors that can’t help but inspire those around you. They can show up as:
- Caring as much about people as the business
- Pushing for excellence in the team
- Leading with both “head” and “heart”
- Seeking to learn from others, not just teach
- Developing others
- Valuing the input of everyone on the team
All of these traits are characteristics you can develop. And all of these behaviors are habits you can learn. Take the time. Make them a priority. You’ll be well on your way to becoming the kind of inspirational leader you aspire to be.
For more on inspirational leadership, check out this blog post and infographic from InitiativeOne: