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5 Inspiring Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Many people have some experience 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 being disrespected, these managers made their employee's 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, if they didn't like someone on our team and wanted to see them gone. They 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 organizations, but thankfully 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 five 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 best possible people.

They challenge you to do bigger and better things.

Great leaders encourage their team to take on more challenging roles that expand their skills and push them out of their comfort zone.

They treat others with dignity and respect.

According to Leibowitz, exceptional leaders treat you as you deserve to be treated: With dignity and respect. 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.

Exceptional leaders I've known are the ones who show a genuine interest in and concern for others. According to Gayle Hardie, caring needs to be inherent in the leader, not a part of their role. Great leaders 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

According to Leibowitz, I have yet to know an exceptional leader who isn't also an excellent storyteller. 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.

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