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5 Inspiring Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Many people have some experiences dealing with a terrible manager that made going to work every day one of the hardest things to do in the world. From being verbally abused to micromanaged to disrespected; these managers made their employees work life a living hell.

For example, I read this story from Stacy Lastoe article The Worst Boss I Ever Had: 11 True Stories That’ll Make You Cringe; these stories are unbelievable, and it clearly shows the flaws in many companies recruiting process as it relates to the selection of managerial staff, for instance, this person share this story:

 “I once had a boss who decided that, despite very strong performance, they didn’t like someone on our team and wanted to see them gone. They didn’ t have the ability to fire them, but looped the employee out of emails and conversations, talked poorly about them behind their back, and disregarded any good performance. Not only is that unethical (and possibly illegal), but it also made actually getting our team’s work done way, way harder.”

If I didn’t know better one would think this was the norm in all organization, but thankfully those are in the minority, and many leaders have a vested interest in the development of their employees and have dedicated their life towards service and creating an organization their employees love. Here are 5 inspiring traits of exceptional leaders as outlined from an article I read from Glenn Leibowitz.

They trust you to do the job you’ve been hired to do.

Leaders are, by definition, leaders. They give direction and provide support and then get out of your way and let you do the job they hired you to do. The smartest leaders have the uncanny ability to hire people who are much more intelligent than they are, who will push them through diverse thinking and drive their business forward. Great leaders know it’s not being the brightest in the room but creating a team with the very best people possible.

They challenge you to do bigger and better things.

Great leaders encourage their team to take on more significant challenges that expand their skills to give them a platform to have an impact beyond the predefined scope of your role.

They treat others with dignity and respect

Exceptional leaders treat you as you deserve to be treated: With dignity and respect, according to Leibowitz. They don’t strike you down with belittling comments, and never intentionally try to place you in an embarrassing or demeaning position in front of others, whether colleagues or clients.

They care

The exceptional leaders I’ve known are the ones who show a genuine interest in and concern for others. Caring needs to be inherent in the leader, not a part of their role according to Gayle Hardie. Caring leaders don’t care because they think they should or because they see caring as part of their role. They care because it is a part of who they are. They demonstrate care as a default, ‘above the line’ response: something they do without thinking. They ask you, “How are you?” or “How’s your family?” they listen, and express genuine concern.

They are master storytellers

I have yet to know an exceptional leader who isn’t also an excellent storyteller according to Leibowitz. The ability to convey ideas and facts in a way that makes sense and which inspires others is a gift all exceptional leaders share.

Leadership is about people, it’s about inspiring people to believe that the impossible is possible, it's about developing and building people to perform at heights they never imagine, and it’s about making a positive impact on your community, your company, your department, your employees and by extension the world. 

Leadership is never about tearing people down and making people feel less than themselves. Great leaders are the ones who stand up for you, support you when you’re experiencing your most challenging moments, and inspire you to become the very best version of yourself.


About Gifford Thomas

I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 145,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.

You can download a copy of my book The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking the link below

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