When I first started the Follow My Lead Podcast, I didn’t think much about the personal education that would come from interviewing leaders on a weekly basis — 45+ episodes to date. It’s provided an opportunity for some fantastic leaders to let their guard down, open up about their journey, and speak into not only our listeners’ hearts but also into my own.
Through all these conversations, I realized there were a few “stand out” leaders I instantly connected with and wanted to continue learning from — I just couldn’t get enough of them. I immediately followed them on social media, shared their insight with friends and wanted a deeper professional relationship with them, a bit stalkery? Maybe. But as I dissected what made these leaders so appealing, I identified the qualities I simply couldn’t get enough of:
There is no denying the fact that these leaders know exactly why they are doing what they are doing and live a lives filled with purpose. Bob Beaudine, one of the best executive recruiters in the world and guest on this weeks Follow My Lead Podcast episode said, “The best leaders believe they have a dream all on their own.” Bob is exactly right. Their belief and intentionality about their life is so attractive. I am not suggesting they’ve never had to search for meaning, but instead, they are purposeful about everything that they do. Where they work, what they do, how they do it, what they eat, who they associate with, what they watch, what they read, and what they do in their “free time” all has purpose behind it.
Has a Compelling Vision
Having a vision as a leader is table stakes. It’s a requirement in order to get other people to go on a journey with you. But the leaders I can’t get enough of have compelling visions. These visions are big and audacious, but when communicated passionately by these leaders, feel attainable. Not only do their visions feel attainable, they’re able to plant the seed of desire in their followers.
Thinks of Others First
I have met a lot of leaders that speak about their devotion to serve others and think of their people first, but when push comes to shove their actions speak differently. This quality is so hard to get right. The people who really think of others first consistently work to elevate those around them. They tend to speak in “we” instead of “me” or “I” and make decisions based on what’s best for “you” instead of for “them.”
Stays a Student
This is a quality that I couldn’t have appreciated until I hit 30, and started taking my own education seriously. It’s as if these people believe they never will have enough knowledge regardless of their success, age, or experience. They are constantly reading, connecting with others by having deep conversations, and truly listening when someone else is talking. Most young professionals think they stop being a student the day they graduate, but the truth is that’s exactly when you start being a student. Life, business, books, podcasts, and mentors teach lessons that speak to us at different points in our life – if we have our minds open to learn from them.
While there are many other qualities I could have included, there is little doubt that when I interview a leader or meet someone who exhibits these qualities, I will do most anything to keep learning from them. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn and share my experiences with you in hopes that you might gain one thing that makes you a better leader.
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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.