The 2 Rare Skills You Need to Be A Great Leader

At some time or another, most of us have experienced a boss, manager, or leader who made us feel recognized and valued. And as a result, we were able to do more than we ever thought we could.

More than anything else, that’s the sign of a true leader—someone who makes you feel, think, act beyond the limits you imagined to your own capabilities and capacity. What’s more, they make you feel you are valued and that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

What skills do these leaders have that allow them to help others become their best? Fundamentally, there are only two. Even the first is far from common on its own, and because the second builds on the first, it’s especially rare.

But here’s the good news: rare as they are, they’re attainable. You can learn them and practice them and master them, and go on to help and empower others to exceed their self-imposed limits.

First, great leaders have a strong foundation of self-awareness. All great leaders draw strength from a well-built foundation of self-awareness. To lead from within requires a comprehensive understanding of yourself. That includes the ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses—in terms of skills, which you can leverage by hiring people who make up for your weak spots, and also in terms of emotional triggers. Managing these triggers  requires a high level of emotional awareness, plus the knowledge of how to be adaptable and the willingness to alter your behavior to be an effective leader. You have permission to be human—that is, sometimes flawed and vulnerable—but you must never allow inner turmoil to wreak havoc upon those you lead.

True leaders understand that their attitudes toward themselves set the tone to which others respond.

Second, they have the single-mindedness to instill power within others. It’s one thing to understand yourself and to be aware of who you are. But the highest leadership quality is knowing how to empower others. A true leader is able to inspire their team, to encourage them to go beyond excellence and accomplish far more than anyone expects of them—or than they expect of themselves. A good leader may take people where they want to go, but a great leader takes them where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.

A true leader doesn’t create more followers; they create more leaders.

A good leader may ask, “Is this working for me?” But a great leader will ask, “Is this working for my people?”

Great leaders can change the world, but first they must learn to lead from within. It’s only after they’ve developed that level of self-awareness that they can they lead and others to greatness.

Lead from within: Leaders become great when they are able to find their inner power and use it to inspire, strengthen and empower others.



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: iStock Photos

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,, 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.

  1. Rob Westwood-Payne

    13. Sep, 2018

    Thanks for this great reminder Lolly. I have long been sold on the need for self-awareness in leadership. So much good can be undone by a thoughtless word or a bad attitude or habit.

    But I’m still learning the second skill. Your post has helped to see some of the ways I can do this – inspiring people and encouraging them so that they surprise themselves with what they achieve.

    Thanks again for your inspiration!

    Rob |

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sue Curtis

    21. Dec, 2018

    Your blog can motivate and inspire anyone person in becoming a more effective leader. Recognition and positive vibes can truly transform a person.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Rob Dean

    02. May, 2019

    Great ideas!
    Here is something to chew on that, I hope, supports your ideas.
    There have been years and years of research, gazillions of experience from leaders and those who study the discipline of leadership, and volumes upon volumes of writings and presentations presenting the “latest” in leader effectiveness. We still don’t understand leadership. There are two distinct reasons for that.
    First leadership is a relationship, not a distinct domain owned by a single person.
    Second, let’s be honest. No one really agrees on what “leadership” is. Leadership is almost always defined by what published scholars and “successful” leaders believe leaders do, or should be doing. The concept of a leadership relationship helps explains this. One can derive a definition of “leadership” that I hope most can agree with.
    Most people view leadership as existing and owned in a single domain: the person who is in a leader position.
    The reality is that leadership exists in two domains: the leader and the followers. Leaders only exist if there are people – followers – who need or desire a leader. People feel they need an individual representing their mutual needs, someone who can help the followers in many ways to accomplish something. It is impossible to understand leadership, what he or she thinks and does, without understanding that leadership is actually a reciprocal relationship between an individual (the leader) and followers.
    In its most elementary form, a leader is desired or needed because he or she can be trusted to represent the body of the followers, show a clear vision of where and how to go, harness the energy of the followers, and lead the way to achieving a mutually agreed to goal or goals at a specific time and circumstance. Followers rely on leaders to influence many forces in many ways in order that mutually agreed to goals are accomplished.
    But, this is where leadership gets complicated. That relationship lasts only as long as the leader satisfies followers’ expectations for the help the followers need in order to gain what they want. In that context, the followers ultimately define what they need in a leader and what she or he does to help the followers achieve what they want. So, the leadership relationship is really defined and sustained by the followers.
    So, it is the followers who evaluate the relationship based on performance: usually what the leader does (or doesn’t do) to influence the people and factors that enable the right performance that leads to goal attainment.
    Consequently, I offer this elementary definition of a successful leader: Successful leaders INFLUENCE people to do something; perform in the right way so that goals are accomplished. How leaders influence people performance determines how successful the relationship is. Of course, there exists probably thousands of ways to influence people – good and bad.
    But, where does management fit into this. Only people can be influenced. Managers can’t manage people. Psychology teaches this. They can only manage things, the organization performance enablers: quality of leadership, of course, and the philosophy of organization governance; making certain the organization has all the right resources (money or cash flow, equipment, facilities, time, and people); communication; information technology; and an effective performance governance system. So, Leaders must also be great managers of this enabling “system” of organization dynamics.

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  4. Joshua Render

    17. Jun, 2019

    “A true leader doesn’t create more followers; they create more leaders.” <- I like that statement. I have always said a great leader follows the lead of their team. I think by letting the team lead, the leadership just needs to make sure the path they choose is clear.

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