Imagine reporting to someone in a leadership role and suddenly it dawns on you: This person just isn't cut out to be a leader.

This is a thought that runs through the minds of employees every day--perhaps yours? Truth is, people are promoted into leadership positions for all the wrong reasons. Many, I've found, have no business being in such privileged roles.

And many others, at their core, don't really want to be there but remain in the role because they want the status, positional authority, pay, or perks that come with it.

The biggest challenge for them? Raising the bar to the high levels of the world's top 10 CEOs. These are leaders known for sustaining positive, caring, and profitable work cultures devoid of fear that crushes the souls of human beings.

Here are three ways they do it.

1. They give employees the freedom to make decisions.

One of the best things a leader can do is give employees the freedom and opportunity to decide, participate in, and determine how work is best accomplished.

Research by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and WorkHuman Research Institute found that employees who feel their ideas and suggestions matter are more than twice as likely to report a positive employee experience than those who don't (83 percent versus 34 percent).

A similar pattern emerged among employees who have the freedom to decide how to do their work (79 percent versus 42 percent), according to the report.

Employees thrive in entrepreneurial settings, which make them feel like they're invested in the company. This means giving them freedom in and ownership of their work. When you do, they're likely to perform at a higher level.

2. They are in it to change lives.

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, says, "There's no point in starting a business unless you're going to make a dramatic difference to other people's lives. So if you've got an idea that's gonna make a big difference to other people's lives, then just get on and do it."

Even if you're not an entrepreneur with a big dream, and find yourself navigating the political corporate landscape, great leaders instinctively know how to reinforce the mission of their organizations and make it jump out of posters and plaques on lobby walls.

They use their company mission to engage and energize workers; they structure and craft their jobs in a way that allows them to tap into this energy, and they find ways to inject more purpose and meaning into people's work that is aligned with the mission.

Branson also says, "With you and your employees approaching your work with renewed energy and commitment, you'll find that there's little that you can't accomplish together."

3. They spread joy and drive fear away.

Let me ask you an honest question: Do you look forward to going to work when you get up on a Monday morning? Do you look forward to interacting with your colleagues? Do you feel appreciated by your boss because he/she takes care of you?

If you're nodding your head yes, you probably experience joy. Joy is an emotion evoked by well-being and success that's experienced by every employee in healthy cultures under great leaders.

It's the feeling you get in a highly collaborative environment where people respect one another, where there's real teamwork among colleagues who encourage each other, where co-workers share the same values, and there's constant synergy in the air. It's the kind of work environment where people find it hard to pull away and go home. This is joy! And leaders create the environment for this to happen.