So what makes some leaders truly transformational and exceptional? And do you have what it takes to become one? I explore a few traits that are unique to excellent leaders in this article today. Drawing from my studies of motivational leaders from history, let me uncover six unique personality traits that are indicative of successful and transformational leadership.
The ability to stick to your commitments and vision is an integral quality of honest leaders. Honesty is an essential quality in a leader, as the absence of integrity can lead to devastating consequences. Integrity also means dealing with the problematic parts of decision-making as a competent leader rather than a follower. Those who are truly honest and calculative will take the time to think through and explore all options before making decisions. Here, honesty doesn’t only mean staying honest with others. It means staying sincere with yourself.
A leader’s character is reflective of the integrity and trust they are trying to instill. The same is true when it comes to leadership and transformational leadership. Destructive leaders will exhibit behaviors and characteristics that are toxic. Transformational leaders are genuinely transformational in their actions and in their interactions with followers.
If you want to be truly exceptional, remember that people want to know they can count on you. When you are building solid relationships with others, you show them that you are trustworthy. When people want to know that their assets are safe and their sources are secure, they will often be more willing to share. People love to be “placed” with leaders who they can rely on, trust, and even rely upon themselves. By building trust among your followers, you demonstrate that you understand how important these factors are to your success and are willing to work hard to ensure their safety and security.
Leaders who have a clear vision for their organization and for reaching their goals have an exciting and powerful “presence.” These leaders clearly define their role and the results they are looking for. In contrast, followers are generally more flexible in their goals and may not clearly understand the exact steps they need to take. These followers are often ambivalent and have difficulty putting a vision into action. A leader with a vision can inspire confidence while also encouraging people to follow and be successful.
By nature, most leaders are highly inspirational. They use their inspiration to motivate and inspire others to be productive and achieve great things. However, effective leadership requires different types of inspiration. While inspiring others through your examples, practice and general attitude may work well for some; others need different methods to inspire them. Leaders with strong leadership skills also have a unique way of getting their followers to achieve their goals.
This is the most difficult trait to master for effective transformational leadership. Some leaders genuinely have no idea how to make others feel good. In fact, others can appear very distant and aloof, which alienates followers. The good news is that with practice, empathy can become second nature. If you’re working with someone who has no empathy, training them to become more empathic and understanding would be a good first step.