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10 Traits of an Inspirational Leader

21 May 2019

As a leading recruiter specialising in recruiting mid to senior managers, we have worked with some of the very top leaders in the FMCG and Retail sectors. We have made it our business to observe the behaviours that make a truly inspirational leader and we have learnt two key lessons: 

  1. There’s a difference between being SUCCESSFUL and being INSPIRATIONAL. While successful people are occasionally inspirational, inspirational people are almost always successful. 
  2. People that inspire and motivate others behave according to a set of very high standards, and it is this that earns them the respect of others. 

If you’re looking to improve your leadership skills, or enhance your ability to motivate and inspire others, our top traits are a great place to start. We have put together 10 traits that we believe make a truly inspirational leader.

1.   Inspirational Leaders Listen

Studies show that we spend 45% of our time listening, and better listening is proven to lead to better relationships. Inspirational leaders have the ability to listen. They don’t pretend to listen, nor do they interrupt when people are trying to speak. Truly good leaders actively seek out opinion that they value and they use this to help them craft their decisions. 

2.   Inspirational Leaders Lead by Example

There are multiple methods of leadership but we like to see leaders that lead by example. Great leaders conduct themselves in a way that they expect others to behave, and never ask others to do anything they would not be prepared to do themselves. 

3.   Inspiration Leaders are Self Aware 

Truly amazing leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. They don’t promise to do something that is beyond their capabilities and they delver what they commit to do. Being modest about their capabilities and giving credit to those that deserve it enables them to continually focus on self improvement. 

4.   Inspirational Leaders Surround Themselves with Great People 

Great leaders recognise that in order to truly succeed and inspire others, they need to surround themselves with the very best people. They don’t feel threatened by other people’s strengths, and instead embrace the skills of others and harness them to optimise performance. Good leaders teach others, but truly great leaders learn from those around them.

5.   Inspirational Leaders Operate According to One Set of Values 

People that inspire others don’t run 2 sets of books - they operate by the same moral and ethical code at work, and at home. Being true to themselves earns them the respect of those around them.

6.   Inspirational Leaders and Consistent 

People who inspire are consistent in everything they do. Others know what to expect of them, and if they’re having a bad day… they don’t let it impact on how they deal with others. 

7.   Inspirational Leaders Treat People as Individuals 

Inspirational leaders recognise that each person is an individual with individual needs as an employee. They adapt their leadership style according to the capacities of each person and they treat others with respect. They demonstrate that they value their employees and inspire others by getting to know them as people.

8.   Inspirational Leaders Understand the Importance of Personal Time 

Great leaders recognise that to be effective at work, time away from work is important in maintaining a heathy and balanced mind. They plan key, structured breaks that give them the chance to re-energise so that they can be on their very best form at work. 

9.   Inspirational Leaders Leave their Issues at the Door

Whether it’s their home, or the office, they leave any issues at the door. At work, they do not allow personal issues to affect their mood or performance, and at home, they leave work at the door to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

10.  Inspirational Leaders Don’t Moan 

Great leaders do not put down others - instead they say great things about them. They find someone outside of the work environment to vent any frustrations to, to ensure that they’re a positive influence within the workplace. 

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