6 Things Really Compelling Leaders Do
BY Kevin Daum
Many leaders can inspire, but strong leaders move people to action. Here's what makes them special.
Every day you encounter leadership: Some are trying to master it; others are simply trying to be good followers. Examples of leadership both good and bad are all around whether you actually recognize which is which. But every once in a while, an amazing leader surfaces, one capable of moving people to action. This is not just a leader who gets people to think. This is a leader who is truly compelling, who can get people to change course and give of themselves.
Many of you are capable of this compelling leadership. But being a compelling leader is not simple and natural for most. It's more than just recruiting and building a team or company. It's about being more than just inspirational. Below are skills you must master to create a movement of people who will step up and do something important and powerful.
1. They show strength. Some leaders are stronger than others. Weakness can come from character, but often it comes from a lack of belief in the mission. Compelling leaders are resolved. They embody faith and commitment to their message, which builds a belief in their authenticity. Their strength is rich and deep enough for others to not only observe it but to draw from it.
To be a compelling leader, you must choose a cause worthy of your faith and share your inner strength boldly and generously.
2. They connect empathetically. Many leaders lead with appointed authority. But compelling leaders don't worry about acquired authority. Instead, they practice empathy as a means for inspiring people. They explore how people tick and what they care about, so they are able to address people "where they live." By sharing rather than telling, they draw people's interest into the mission at hand and motivate them to get involved.
To be a compelling leader, you must be approachable and relatable to attract and retain those who will join your journey.
3. They inspire with vision. Leading people through tasks makes them dependent and reactive. Compelling leaders can clearly articulate a vision. They paint a picture of something better for people to live and breathe. They describe their message in clear, straightforward language and relate the emotional components in a way that is easily absorbed by those ready to move forward.
To be a compelling leader, you must be a great storyteller. You must detail for people a desirable future worthy of their efforts.
4. They attract doers. Leaders are judged as much by their teams as by their actions. Compelling leaders attract many but choose to build teams only with proactive people who are self-driven and objective-oriented. The opportunity to work with high performers then becomes additional incentive for others to join or to step up their game. A team with a compelling leader carries out its tasks with a sense of fun and camaraderie, further enhancing the experience and the performance.
To be a compelling leader, you must be selective about those who join your team. You must reward those who are self-starters and forgo the weak who will deplete morale.
5. They earn respect. Many leaders have authority bestowed upon them. But a title or paycheck is not sufficient to command top performance. Compelling leaders gain authority from their performance and how they relate to people. They earn respect of people through small actions of success and connection. Then people trust that leaders have a right to be heard and followed. They may not have all the answers, but they know how to move forward in a humble and inclusive way.
To be a compelling leader, you must never assume authority. No matter your position or tenure, you must treat every day as an opportunity to be gracious and earn respect.
6. They instill confidence. Many leaders direct action without providing the support and tools to achieve the objectives. Compelling leaders make sure that all the tools are there for people to execute from Day One. They make sure that everyone on their team is prepared physically and mentally for the journey ahead so the team can handle any obstacle in the path. People are far more likely to step up when confident they have the knowledge and tools necessary for success.
To be a compelling leader, you must research, plan, and prepare. You must help your team feel secure and prepared for the challenges it will undertake.
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