How to Be an Inspirational Leader

Charisma isn't everything. Only when you understand the key traits that define effective leadership will you be able to inspire your team, foster loyalty, and drive business results.

If you own a business then you are, by definition, a business leader. But are you a good one? Leadership experts offer the following essential guidance on how you can become more effective at helping those around you perform at their best.


Effective leaders have a vision and the ability to share that vision with others in a way that excites and inspires. When you articulate a vision that people understand and support, they will want to help you achieve it. Your vision becomes a shared goal. Take pains to remind your team what you’re working towards, and how their efforts are contributing to a greater purpose. “The better a leader is at connecting the dots and showing how daily tasks are contributing to the bigger picture, the more energized and focused the team will be,” says Mikaela Kiner, executive coach and founder and CEO of Uniquely HR, a HR consulting firm for startups and small businesses.


“I recently spoke at an event for entrepreneurs where my mission was to motivate and inspire them," says Chris Dessi, founder and CEO of Silverback Social. "After the speech, people came up to me and said that I was, in fact, inspiring. Here’s why: I spoke with no pretense, no bombast, and no sugarcoating. I spoke about my personal experiences, and I didn’t pretend my life or my business were perfect,” He stresses that for leaders to be inspiring, they need to show their humanity. Doing so will help create a culture of trust in your workplace.


Dessi interviewed business leaders about their paths to success for his recent book, Just Like You. He notes that everyone he spoke with measured success by more than just monetary and professional achievement--and shared a humble outlook regarding their own accomplishments. “Every single one of them has a similar attitude that can be summed up as, ‘I am not there yet’ or ‘I haven’t yet created what I want to create.’ They are still seeking advice and guidance. They’re still learning,” he says.

Be humble enough to admit that there are ways that you, too, can improve, and don't view any task as too great or too small to tackle personally. Kiner also advises asking for feedback. “You’d be surprised what you can learn just by asking,” she says. Plus, demonstrating your willingness to learn and grow will inspire your team to do the same.


“There are about a dozen or so well-known leadership traits, including being a risk-taker and being proactive, innovative, courageous, and curious. But perhaps the most important trait of effective leaders is that they inspire and motivate their people by being accountability leaders,” says John Manning, president of Management Action Programs, a management consulting firm, and author of The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters. “They establish a solid system for accountability, take immediate, corrective actions around challenges, and they recognize successes, more so than failures.” That means everyone in your office, yourself included, is held responsible for his or her actions, which will help you move the business forward.

Effective leaders challenge their employees and trust and support them along the way. They’re skilled relationship-builders and communicators who lead by example. They expect a lot from the people around them, but no more than they demand from themselves. By understanding some of the commonalities of great leaders you can move everyone forward as one to achieve the company's goals.


On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being 'Not Good' and 5 being 'Excellent', how would you rate this article?

Press enter to submit your rating

Rate this Article

Use this form to provide additional feedback based on the rating you provided.

Thanks for Rating

Would you like to provide feedback?

Thanks for your feedback!

This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation. Information provided and statements made by individuals who are not employees of Regions are the views, opinions, or positions of the individual who made the statement and do not necessarily reflect the policies, views, opinions, and positions of Regions. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented.