8 traits of remarkable leaders

The intangible quality called charisma sets certain people apart and makes others want to work with them. Here are some attributes of natural leaders.

Do you remember the last time someone made you feel important?

There’s a good chance that you remember it vividly because they took a genuine interest in you and in what you had to say. It made an impression, and you felt great about yourself after the conversation.

That someone had charisma.

Some people have it, and it’s usually obvious as soon as they come into view. Charisma can’t be faked, and you probably know people who have it.

We are drawn to charismatic people. We are eager to be in their good graces. It’s a big reason that charismatic people make great leaders.

Here’s why:

1. They listen. More specifically, they practice active listening—being attuned to the other person and acknowledging what they are hearing through verbal and nonverbal feedback, including eye contact. It connects the sender (the one talking) to the receiver (the one listening) and gives the sender reassurance that he is being understood.

2. They ask insightful questions. This shows the employee that his manager is genuinely interested in what he has to say and wants to learn more.

3. They offer clear, concise feedback. These are the managers who don’t sugarcoat criticism. They are quick to recognize a job well done, and they are also quick to provide valuable guidance when they see flaws.

4. They show respect to the person they are listening to, regardless of title, time on the job, or reputation. Remarkable leaders don’t yield to their egos. They aren’t pretentious, nor do they give an air of superiority. They live life trying to learn something from everyone.

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5. They give people their undivided attention. When they talk to you, they aren’t glancing at emails or texts. They don’t let others interrupt your conversation. In short, remarkable managers are mentally present.

6. They direct the spotlight on their employees. Remarkable leaders understand the supreme importance of recognition. When associates are afforded genuine praise—not empty flattery—they become much more motivated to practice and repeat similar behaviors so they can bask in accolades again and again.

7. They don’t discuss the failures of others. Remarkable leaders keep conversations 100 percent confidential, so associates know their failings or embarrassing moments will never leak. Remarkable leaders regard and uphold people’s dignity.

8. They admit their own failures. These leaders know it is important that others know they are human and can make mistakes just like everyone else. They don’t act as if they know everything; rather, they use their failures to teach that life is about learning and that mistakes are essential to the lifelong educational process.

Charismatic people tend to give of themselves and understand that building strong, lifelong relationships involves bringing out the best in others.

A version of this post first appeared on GordonTraining.


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