If you strive to direct a company or initiate ideas that others may follow, being a great leader is a must. But despite the countless leadership tips and suggestions out there, it is still very hard to activate your full leadership potential.

We often think there are two major responsibilities of a great leader: Directing a business toward revenue-generating success is one. The other is good management--inspiring employees to do great work.

Both are important, but what sets truly great leaders apart is their eye toward innovation. They recognize that to be on the cutting edge of their industries, they need to get more from their people. The executive who has all the ideas and answers is becoming a thing of the past. The pace of business requires more new ideas than one person can manage, and forward-thinking leaders know that to generate great thinking and breakthroughs, they have to be great people leaders.

But how do you become that type of leader--who genuinely inspires the team, who knows how to bring about the brilliance of others in the room? It all comes down to adopting this one new powerful habit: asking how you make people feel.

Knowing in great detail how you make other people feel is essential for ensuring that people trust you and want to listen to what you have to say. You can build trust by showing that you care. When you ask someone how you make him or her feel, it's a great way not only to get feedback, but also to learn more about your leadership style and presence.

Here is a quick process for starting this new habit and making it part of your day-to-day routine:

  1. Each week, ask people whom you engage with the following questions, in person: How do you feel about this company and where we are going? How do you feel around me?
  2. If you don't feel comfortable doing it in person, recruit a close colleague to help you. Have him or her ask others how they felt during a specific meeting or moment when you were speaking or demonstrating leadership.
  3. Every month, survey the entire team. Include a question asking them to describe your presence and how they feel when you speak, or are in a meeting with them.

Make it a priority to learn more about this aspect of your leadership style. If people feel good when they are in your presence, then you are not far off from being great.

Published on: Jan 25, 2016