A topic I have explored much more intensely in recent times, is that of leadership, especially as I have headed up teams for a major event and organisation in my own professional field.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.” –  Jim Rohn.

Incredible leaders come in all shapes and sizes. They have different styles, different goals, different strengths. There are great leaders in clubs, businesses, schools, sports teams, families, politics and non-profit organisations throughout the world.

Effective leaders, and in particular leaders truly worth following tend to have a set of qualities that makes them so. Often these qualities are lacking in others whoa re in leadership roles. Just what is it that makes a leader worth following? Today, I’ve written about some of the qualities of exceptional leaders people want to follow and benefit from following. Consider being aware of these things if you ever adopt a leadership role in any aspect of your life…

1. Leaders worth following provide inspiration:

Leaders worth following truly think bold and big at times. They challenge themselves and their teams to live their dreams. They trust in their skills and capabilities, search for the big picture, and enjoy looking beyond it. They think, feel, behave, and act positively. They surround themselves with like-minded believers, positive shapers, and creative makers.

They use the power of questioning to overcome fear of failure, bringing more alteration to their lives, and helping to uncover what one really wants to do with their life to assist in triggering improvements and innovations.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams.

2. Leaders worth following lead by example:

Leaders worth following are both effective and efficient by aiming at doing the right things in the right way. They are not driven by short-term results, instead they are more process-oriented following a long-term perspective. They strongly believe in the art of execution and know how hard and painful it can be to have things seamlessly implemented. 

The outstanding leaders of the future master one of the ultimate balancing acts of superior leadership – they know how to lead with head and heart. Meaning they are respected for having both a strong results focus and social skills. Or, as Eleanor Roosevelt stated:

“To handle yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart.”

Leaders need to have congruence and show that they’ll do the things they talk about. Lead by example!

3. Leaders worth following are curious:

Leaders worth following have a strong passion to learn, to question, to dive deep, and to be misunderstood. Relentlessly. Their interest goes far beyond their own industries. They absorb whatever comes across their way and catches their interest.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  – John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

4. Leaders worth following are open minded:

Great leaders believe that you will what you want and that there are no limits to personal growth. They are “Realistic Optimists,” i.e. being both optimistic and realistic. As such, they combine the two into one behavioural style that creates a unique sense of open-mindedness, attention, and focus. This high level of awareness and focus allows them to see things many of us do not notice while we´re too busy with problems and ourselves.

They are masters at succeeding professionally and personally by following certain principles to better navigate their lives and to concentrate more on establishing sustainable and precious relationships to guarantee success without personal regrets. They are clear about what they want to achieve in life and about the price they have to pay for it. They have reframed the notion of work-life-balance as they´ve realised that work and life are irrevocably interlinked. They have found smart ways to integrate the two of them efficiently and effectively. They don´t consider workaholic as a virtue; they believe in managing up and pushing back if necessary.

Happiness is a growth priority for them. They define happiness not as daydreaming or as seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses. In fact, they consider happiness and the well-being of people as a fundamental human right, well aligned with, and not hiding behind, economic growth and social responsibility. They know what numerous studies have shown – happy people are healthier, more confident, more productive, more satisfied, and more resilient. 

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton.

5. Leaders worth following are compassionate:

Leaders worth following enjoy developing and coaching others. They invest a lot of energy and time in building and maintaining personal relationships founded on trust. Trust is a core belief and value of these leaders which they work hard to earn and keep, e.g. by walking their talk, by communicating frequently and openly, by taking a stand (even if it´s not a popular one), by empowering others, and by following high ethical standards.

They want to support others, to give, to make an impact, and to do good. They care about the well-being of others and about broader environmental and social topics. They are aware of the fact that you have to give before you receive. They have integrated values like gratitude and appreciation into their lives and linked them with positive and people-focused thinking and acting to achieve a fulfilled life.

They show a strong interpersonal, day-to-day ability to genuinely and graciously thank other people for what they do. Unfortunately, it´s a behaviour that´s too often forgotten in the heat of the battle.

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams.

 6. Leaders worth following are brief and precise:

Every great leader has at some time or another learned the valuable lesson that the surest way to put their own future at risk was to waste their leadership’s time.

They recognised early on that their bosses had far more to do, read, and listen to, than time in the day. As a result they learned the importance of telling them only what they needed to know and not a word more.

“Be sincere, Be brief, Be seated.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

7.  Leaders worth following help others grow:

Power flows where power is given. Leaders worth following understand this and embrace empowering others.

They do this for three reasons. First, providing room to explore creates growth opportunities for the individual. Secondly, trusting others builds confidence in the team. Lastly, empowering others ensures their legacy as a leader is preserved because their team will be more motivated than ever to finish what was started, with or without them.

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their ingenuity.”  General George S. Patton

For me, I tend to think this is a great way to add value to the world too. Instead of trying to hold others back, aim to help them rise up above you.

8. When they screw up, a leader worth following owns up and moves on:

We all make mistakes. However upon making one, a leader worth following accepts the blame, apologises if necessary, does what they can to make it right, and then they bury the worry.

Most people understand the first two steps, but fail to see the last two through.

“When a thing is done, it’s done. Don’t look back. Look forward to your next objective.”- George C. Marshal.

9. Leaders worth following are proactive:

Great leadership is a constant work in progress. However, leaders worth following know it is impossible to progress, if they are not opening themselves up to criticism, and surrounding themselves with others who challenge their way of thinking.

They do this not only so they can learn about different perspectives, but to also help identify what they may have missed on the road to right.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill.

10. Leaders worth following praise in public and reprimand in private:

No-one is immune to failure. Great leaders understand this and know that publicly shaming a fellow team member when things go south, serves no one.

On the flip side, when things are going well, a leader worth following recognises that personal gain and attention jeopardises not only trust, but also bigger picture goals. Therefore, instead of seeking the spotlight, they cast the light onto team members who could use the boost.

“Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.” – Abraham Lincoln.

11. Leaders worth following are bold:

Great leaders are not immune to fears of the unknown. The difference is that they are consciously and consistently working towards controlling and learning from them. They do this because they know it is far better to proactively shape the environment than to be shaped.

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey.

12. Leaders worth following do not distort reality:

For a great leader, the brutal facts are the only facts.

Too many of us distort reality into a plate that is easy for us to digest. However, a leader worth following deals with this ambiguity while relying on nothing more than the resources available at the time in order to move forward.

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” – Norman Schwarzkopf.

13. Leaders worth following have strong ethics:

Acting according to law, and acting ethically are not always the same. A legal action may not be ethical and an ethical action will normally be grounded in law.

Leaders worth following have the refined frame of reference necessary to envision novel and unprecedented challenges to ethical behaviour well before those challenges emerge. They must do this to protect core values and to ensure the trust and confidence in not only people around them, but in society.

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”  – Dwight D. Eisenhower.

14. Leaders worth following listen actively:

Most people do not listen to understand. They simply wait for their turn to speak. However, every leader worth following prioritises their two ears over their one mouth. They do this because they understand both relationships and breakthroughs are built by people who understand the wants and needs of the people around them.

“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

15. Leaders worth following are positive:

Great leaders maintain a positive attitude. They get up every morning and they see every effort they make as part of a great plan to accomplish something wonderful with their lives and push forward with a positive attitude. They see opportunities and possibilities in everything that happens, positive or negative. They look for the good in every situation and in every person. They seek the valuable lessons contained in every problem or setback. They never experience “failures;” instead, frame them as “learning experiences.”

Most of all, great leaders have a sense of meaning and purpose in each area of their lives. They have clear, written goals and plans they work on every day. Great leaders are clear about where they are going and what they will have to do to get there. Their behaviour is purposeful and goal-directed. As a result, they accomplish much more than the average person who operates from day to day with little concern about the future.

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Publilius Syrus.

The acceptance of leadership is a great responsibility. It is both scary and exhilarating. Once you decide to become a leader in your life, you cast off the shackles of fear and dependency that hold most people back and pursue life with a positive attitude. With your own hands, you design your own future. You set yourself fully on the path to becoming everything you are capable of becoming.


Have some of these themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:

1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist who is looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.

Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book, it’ll help you live with integrity!