4 Traits of Motivational Leaders Who Keep It Real
As someone who finds talent for a living I see leadership from both sides of the desk. I partner with leaders, many of them are VPS or CEOS, who are staffing up management ranks, or perhaps dealing with the difficult job of replacing a team member who isn’t working out. And I work tirelessly and advocate for job seekers with leadership credentials and aspirations. This both-sides-now view has taught me a lot about what it takes to be inspirational, motivational leaders. And while there are many leadership books out there pushing various principles or approaches, in my experience it really boils down to four key attributes.
The single most important trait of an effective leader is emotional intelligence from my perspective, what author and psychologist Daniel Goleman has boiled down to four ‘capabilities’: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skill.
It’s amazing, in this hyper-social and connected world, how few people exhibit emotional intelligence. Many who aspire to leadership are intensely self-aware (driven by an inner vision and ambition) but lack the capacity to be socially aware: they’re just tone-deaf when it comes to the people around them.
The ego can do harm to even the best leaders. The world seems to only revolve around their needs and not those around them. They may be able to manage their actions, but have no skills to manage the actions of others.
Motivational leaders are tough to find (believe it or or not), so I try to focus my practice on seeking out talented people with the following four attributes:
1. Ability to read people: both the said and unsaid.
Leaders must be able to hear everything, which means they need to be an expert at picking up not only the nuances of spoken language but also able to read body language. Careful listening really helps.
This goes beyond self-control, which doesn’t necessarily encompass a personal sense of ethics, to include a solid ethical grounding. If you’re going to ask people to do things for your business, you must not only be responsible, but able to inspire those around you to responsibility.
Many leaders who believe themselves to be very ethical lack a sense of compassion. They’ve intellectualized feelings into abstractions and lost the capacity to react at an emotional, caring level. I’m not saying always be a softy of course – just realize that feelings are always a force to be dealt with in the workplace.
4. Socially available
It’s increasingly important to be able to read and react to subtle social signals. Go a step further and come out of your shell. Talk to people both online and in real life. Find out what drives them. Share your vision. This matters.
Hire motivational leaders. Go For It. Exceed Your Own Expectations.
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Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized leader in talent strategy and a pioneer in building the business case for brand humanization. Founder of TalentCulture and a serial entrepreneur, Meghan creates successful ventures by navigating the complexities of career and workplace branding. In her practice as a social recruiter and strategist, Meghan has placed hundreds of individuals with clients ranging from Fortune 500s to the most innovative software start-up companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft and emerging companies in the social technology and media marketplace.
Graphic by Shawn Murphy