7 Important Traits of the Leaders People Want to Follow

Anyone can call themselves a leader. But not every leader is followed with admiration and respect. Many people are in leadership because they’ve been given a leadership position , but earning the title of leader is a different story.

As a leadership coach, I have seen many people who have the stature, the title, the salary, and the corner office that says they’re the boss, but without the respect of their team. Their people don’t want to converse with them or follow them—and that means true leadership is missing.

Leadership is about inspiring and motivating others do great things, and for me that’s the best test of effective leadership. To be a great leader isn’t easy—it means hard work and a daily commitment to serving others. This kind of leader isn’t easy to find, but here’s how you can recognize them:

1. They have a character worth following. A leader who keeps their word, in good times and in difficulty, demonstrates integrity and high moral qualities. Their word is their bond and you know you can trust them in any circumstance.

2. They embody inspirational courage. Leadership is not without its blunders and mishaps, and it takes a strong and solid individual to stay strong when the chips are down. When a leader maintains their dignity in times of deepest trouble, they inspire others to do the same.

3. They give respect to earns respect. Most leaders expect to be respected, but the best leaders give respect first. They know the importance of honoring others, recognizing their talents and skills, and appreciating their contributions. A leader who gives respect will always get respect back.

4. They’re there when they’re needed. Leadership carries big responsibilities, and it’s easy to become overly busy and preoccupied. But the leaders people trust, those who are in the know, are those who make the time to be available. They spend time with their most important asset—their people—to be the kind of boss people know they can talk to and rely on.

5. They see things most people don’t see. It’s important to look past the details and process to open up room for vision and keep an eye on the big picture. Leaders worth following make it a practice to go beyond the status quo and look for the things that most people don’t see.

6. They help people do things they didn’t think were possible. Even when we’re working at our best, many of us don’t get ever feel we’re growing into a better version of ourselves. The key is finding someone who believes in us. The leader who makes you feel and think you can do better—who knows you are better—is the leader you’re happy to follow wherever they lead. People will always step up to the plate to live up to a leader’s high expectations.

7. They know their work is bigger than themselves. Most of us think of our sphere of influence in small terms. Great leaders are always thinking more widely—considering those around them and those beyond them. Leaders who think big help us climb out of the boxes we put ourselves into. They’re determined to make an impact on the communities where they live and work.

Lead from within: You always want to be following a leader who makes you feel think and do things beyond your own scope of being.


#1 N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Drawing by Lolly Daskal

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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