8 qualities to be a truly inspirational leader!

Everyone wants to be a leader. In a traditional sense, you are only a leader when someone follows you! But why should anyone follow you? What qualities, values do you radiate, that inspire others to be influenced by you? It is easier to  think of the power, position and perks that come with leadership positions, than to think of the immense responsibility and accountability they bring along. Normally leaders think of the former more than the latter. The small percentage that thinks of the latter get counted and quoted in the league of inspirational leaders. Such leaders become folk lore. Their countrymen, their teams and their stakeholders remember and recount their examples, memories and countless instances of exceptional behaviour for years on end. Such leaders are a gift to humanity.

Surely all of us in leadership positions have met at least one such leader in our life. At least I hope so! And surely all of us aspire to be an inspiring example of leadership for our people! Learning more from the leaders who have not been inspiring, here's a short list of  qualities that make a truly inspiring leader. At the end of each quality there is a short personal reflection exercise and action plan for you to use. Reflection is a powerful tool that enables you to step back and assess your own behaviour. Writing down the action plan, solidifies the intention for improvement. This is your appointment with yourself . Be brutally honest and real. Follow the action plan for 21 days and see the result!

1) Walk the talk

Common sense and obvious but quite uncommon! So many leaders just don't do this. Wouldn't we like to follow leaders who do what they say and practice what they preach? Then we have to demonstrate exactly that. Nothing inspires more confidence and trust in a team, than to have a leader who  walks the talk. Try it consciously for a few days and see the result

Personal Reflection Exercise

A) i) List down 3 areas/instances where you feel you may NOT be walking the talk in your leadership role.

ii) Write down how you felt in those moments

PAUSE for a moment

B) i)  List down 3 instances where you ARE walking the talk.

ii) Write down the emotions you remember/associate with those instances

21 day action plan

A)  For the above 3 where you are NOT walking the talk  write down what you will change to ensure you will walk the talk and how you will implement it.

PAUSE for a moment

B) For areas where you are walking the talk, identify ways in which you can make this behaviour more consistent.

2) No double standards

One rule for all. No differentiation and no discrimination. Requires great balance and dispassion. Also keen awareness, personal integrity and courage. Sometimes costs personal gain. When practiced sincerely, earns incredible respect and trust, not to mention a good nights sleep for the leader! Easy to do if the leader is solid, extremely difficult otherwise.

Personal Reflection Exercise

A) i) Make a list of upto 3 areas where you feel you may have knowingly or unknowingly exhibited double standards to your team
ii) Write down how you felt in those moments.

PAUSE for a moment

B) i) List down  3 instances where you have NOT exhibited double standards
ii) Write down the emotions / feelings you remember of those instances

21 day action plan-

A)  For the above 3 where you feel you exhibited double standards, write down what you will change to ensure that you correct the situation.

PAUSE for a moment

B) Identify ways you can enhance consistency in behaviour to ensure you don't exhibit double standards.

3) Own up

Nothing inspires more than a leader who takes responsibility, especially for failure. A leader who doesn't pass the buck, who backs her team and who stands by them in times of crises is truly inspiring. Isn't it? Think of a time when you didn't achieve something or made a mistake and your boss/ leader owned up for you! Will you ever forget the incident? No! Will that leader have left a deep positive mark on your heart? Yes !

Personal Reflection Exercise

 A) i) Make a list of 3 instances where DID NOT own up

ii) Write down how you felt in those moments

PAUSE for a moment

B) i) Write down 3 instances where you DID own up and take responsibility for your teams actions and results.

ii) Write down the emotions you remember of those instances

21 day action plan

A) Identify what you need to change in yourself to have the courage to own up.

PAUSE for a moment

B) How can you enhance the positive behaviour ?

There are 5 more qualities I would like to share, but I know that those of you who will do the exercises will hopefully find it helpful already. Would like to hear from you- does this help you ? How is the reflection ? What answers did it throw up ?

Will write about the next qualities in the upcoming blogs over the next weeks.

Reflecting and planning while reading can help make tangible , sustainable changes for the future.

At the upcoming Global Leadership Forum, truly inspiring leaders like H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji, Dr Arundhati Bhattacharya, Hon Mr Bondovik - Former Prime Minister of Norway among others will be sharing their secrets to inspirational leadership. Be there to inspire and be inspired!



  1. A real eye opener and of course very inspirational. Thanx Rajita ji


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