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Three Traits Inspiring Leaders Share

May 3, 2017 ---- Anyone can become an inspiring leader according to Eric Garton, a partner in Bain & Company. Inspiring leaders are made, not born. To understand what makes a leader inspirational, Bain & Company launched a new research program starting with a survey of 2,000 people. What they found was surprising. It turns out that inspiration alone is not enough. Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organization is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the troops but are undermined by mediocre outcomes. Instead, inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.

Here are three key findings about how leaders both inspire, and get, great performance:

  1. You only need one truly "inspiring: attribute
  2. Your key strength has to match how your organization creates value
  3. You have to behave differently if you want your employees to do so

To read How to Be an Inspiring Leader by Eric Garton, visit the Harvard Business Review.