How to become a more inspiring leader

We spoke to some of the UK's top business leaders to find out what they believe to be some of the top traits to become and inspirational leader.

Successful business leaders have revealed the top five traits that make a good leader, and you might be surprised to find out that it has nothing to do with being confident or assertive.

German business school, GISMA, spoke with some of the UK’s top business leaders to find out how they mastered the skills and it turns out that it’s all about being humble, tolerant and innovative.

So, if you’re in need of some inspiration, here are the top five traits to help you climb the career ladder, shared by the experts:

Be patient

Daniel Rowles, CEO at digital marketing training company, Target Internet, says, ‘Whether you’re a born leader or not, learning how to lead effectively takes time and effort. From my perspective, the most important thing has been learning from every failure and success. If you can’t learn in this way, you could easily go through a whole career without improving in any meaningful way.’

Dr Steve Priddy, academic dean at GISMA Business School adds, ‘Being a successful leader doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes a lot of time and patience to develop leadership skills. It’s important to be experienced in your field of work, so that you’re able to advise and deal with any difficult situations.’

Be respectful

Speaking about his experiences, founder and CEO of The Formations Company, Piers Chead, says, ‘Respect is never a given: it has to be earned and then renewed on a regular basis, time and time again. As a leader, it’s not always about being perfect; sometimes it’s about admitting failure, taking responsibility, tackling difficult situations and ultimately, being open-minded and vulnerable as well as having conviction.’

Dr Steve Priddy adds, ‘Having respect for your colleagues is crucial for creating an inspiring and effective workforce. Listen and understand their needs and you’ll gain their respect in return.’

Be inspiring

Helen Packham, Leadership and Business Coach, believes that storytelling about past experiences can help to inspire others. She says, ‘Storytelling is a hugely powerful and transferable skill that can be used to influence, persuade, engage and inspire. Using stories in presentations, public speeches, meetings and training can really make an impact – people naturally love stories.’

Priddy adds, ‘Sometimes even the most driven workforce needs some motivation and a good leader must be able to inspire others and create a working environment that excites all members of staff.’

Have a clear vision

David Jessop, life and success coach, says, ‘Always stay true to the vision and purpose of your organisation or team. You need to have an understanding of yourself; it’s not only about how to tackle difficult situations, but also about celebrating success and being flexible and adaptable when adjusting to things that don’t go to plan.’

Priddy adds, ‘Understanding what you want in one, three or five years’ time is so important and will help you to be successful in a business environment. Set achievable goals for yourself and the organisation to help you stay focused and motivated.’

Being observant

Piers Chead, says, ‘It’s undoubtedly important to understand your space and the people within it. A good leader will always take time to observe the dynamic before diving in. The better you understand your environment, the more effective you’ll be at tackling those tricky situations when they arise.’

Priddy adds, ‘As a successful leader, you must understand your working environment; its vision, purpose and people. Study how your employees operate and how you could make a positive contribution that will inspire a more effective workplace.’

Priddy adds, ‘Good and effective leadership creates a better work environment for all. Setting an example as a great leader helps others to see what skills they need to also be successful. True leadership is about taking people to places they would not (or could not) go on their own, and achieving that level of loyalty and dedication is next to impossible without a genuine allegiance inspired by true leadership skills.

‘There are always ways to learn more and enhance your leadership skills, and we hope these suggestions will help inspire others to revaluate their leadership abilities, and address areas they feel may require development.’

Further reading on becoming an inspiring leader

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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