7 Traits of Great Leaders

Are leaders born or made?

Most modern research suggests that great leaders are not simply born that way, rather it’s a far more complex. The good news is that there are skills that you can learn and traits you can practice to support you in becoming a more impactful leader.

Here are the 7 most important traits of leaders who inspire transformation in others

Motivates Followers

Transformational leaders motivate their followers by creating an environment where people feel safe enough to take risks and try new ideas. They also ensure that they are prepared for change, ready to adapt and pivot when needed. They create a culture of ‘can-do’ attitudes and behaviors, which enables their followers to take greater ownership of their own development. This creates a positive feedback loop of motivation, growth, and fulfillment.

Leads By Example

Transformational leaders show their team how it’s done. They get their hands dirty, and work together with everyone in the thick of it. Often times they’re the first one to come to the job and the last one to leave. They actively exhibit the traits they want their team to embody. 

Rather than sitting in an office and barking orders, they industriously engage in the project. They demonstrate dedication, good work ethic, passion, and other traits they wish their followers to emulate in pursuit of a common goal.

Emphasis on Authenticity, Cooperation, and Communication

Transformational leaders focus on authenticity because they believe it is important to act true to themselves and their core beliefs. They understand who they are and what they stand for and they work to communicate this clearly to others. 

This authentic type of communication and willingness to express their beliefs fosters credibility and trustworthiness amongst their peers. Transformational leaders are cooperative because they understand the benefits that cooperation and teamwork have on their work and outcomes. 

They help build relationships with their team by listening to them and helping them succeed. Transformational leaders emphasize communication because they want to make sure everyone knows where they stand and what is expected from them.

Provides support as a coach or mentor

Great transformational leaders get to know their individual team members. In this type of leadership approach, they work to discover each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on interpersonal relationships and the individual within the organization the leader is able to get a clearer understanding of how and where each member fits into the organization. 

Once this is established, the leader can then work to support each individual by providing advice, counsel, and direction as to where they may best apply themselves. The leader works to place each person in the spot they think they’ll thrive and find the most satisfaction.

Sets Clear Goals

An important facet of effective leadership styles is goal setting. After all, teams, companies, and organizations are working to do something, right? 

Transformational leaders work hard to clearly communicate goals that make sense. They work to frame the goals in the context of their overall vision and work to incorporate the goals of the team as well. By weaving individuals’ goals and a common goal together the vision of the project becomes more enticing, clearer, and satisfactory for all people working towards that goal.

Inspires followers to reach beyond their limitations

Transformational leaders inspire others because they lead with honesty and integrity. When we are honest with ourselves and our team we build trust, thus helping the group and individuals grow together. 

Transformational leaders stimulate inspiration because they lead by example, showing us how to achieve great results through their own actions. They make us aware of our potential and provide us with the tools needed to achieve it. 

They focus on building relationships by listening to their team and ensuring that everyone feels valued. They encourage their team to develop skills and talents because they recognize that these assets will increase productivity and produce better results. By focusing on the development of talent within their teams rather than dictating how people do their jobs, people feel inspired to work beyond what they thought was possible.


Transformational leaders uplift their followers with a vision that outlines the path of the organization and how everyone fits into that vision. 

The vision defines the purpose of the leader, the team, and the organization as a whole. When people resonate with that vision, it makes working to achieve that goal a lot easier; as the organization and its members are able to work authentically and find purpose in what they’re doing.

Why the heck should we care? Why does it matter?

We should care about transformational leadership because it’s a more empathetic, personal, and “human” way of approaching a leadership. Most of us don’t like being bossed around, told what to do, and treated like a subordinate. Even though taking orders and working under those types of conditions may be best for short-term outcomes,  it can feel belittling, unfulfilling, and deflating working under those types of circumstances.

Ultimately, people thrive with a leader who has a vision, is empathetic, empowering, and communicates effectively. These types of traits in leaders allow their followers to find meaning in what they’re doing, have a sense of agency, and grow as individuals whilst achieving their work goals. 

One of our missions here at The Connection Institute is to train you to embody these traits in your leadership and in your life. To learn more about our in person and online training click here: https://theconnectioninstitute.net

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