What do leaders require the most to be a good leader? Great technical skills? Well, yes, being proficient in the technical domain that you lead is definitely an added advantage. Being a subject matter expert makes you more confident and impactful. But is that all you need to be a good leader? Or is there something more?

Look around you. What makes a person stand out from others. What about them makes you wonder, “I wish I could be like that or could do that.” 

Psst…The Secret to Great Leadership…

Most often, we look up to just a few people in our lives for inspiration, encouragement and advice. The reason being a sense that these individuals have something different about them. They have what it takes to makes us feel inspired, seek advice, look up to them and feel comfortable in their presence. And what’s this called? Simply put, its Leadership!

Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Ratan Tata, Gandhiji, etc. are some of the examples of great leaders in history who inspired thousands of people around the world. And for many of us, it’s our Parents, Teachers, Colleagues, Bosses, Friends or even the next-door Neighbour!

Have you ever thought why we find these leaders so inspiring? What characteristics do they exhibit that sets them apart from other individuals? What makes us want to walk up to them and seek their advice or simply follow their path?

The answer lies in the way they behave. Good leaders distinguish themselves with their behaviours and actions. Their way of interacting with people, managing tasks and even managing themselves is very different from others. And if you observe them closely, you are sure to get awed! In fact, some of them have such amazing skills that you might even recall their name when you think of the skill! 

Leadership and Behavioural Skills

Just think, how would you feel if your team lead could not communicate clearly, but expected their team members to be clear. Or if they came late to work but insisted everyone else came on time.  If they lacked commitment and showed little concern for their team members or the task at hand. Would you not feel frustrated and demotivated? Will their hypocritic ways, not give rise to a lack of trust and confidence?

While talking about good leaders, Aubrey Daniels, a well-known author, behaviourist and performance management consultant once said, “Leaders create the culture, the place, and the right motivation for employees by their behaviours and not their talks.”

Consider, Nelson Mandela. Various behaviours and acts were displayes by him that made him such an influential personality. He led peaceful demonstrations all his life and forgave those that got him jailed. He embraced diversity by supporting the Springboks rugby team, South Africa’s national rugby union team, comprising of white people. Nelson Mandela even made friends with nations like Cuba, who were shunned by the world, to help build South Africa.

Such are great leaders. They are an epitome in themselves. A true example that others can look up to and emulate. They don’t just talk about greatness; they exhibit it through their actions. They don’t preach about how one should treat others; they show it to us through their interactions with one and all. And they don’t ask people to follow them, people just do anyway! Now that’s what we call charisma.

Behaviours of popular leaders

Let’s look more closely at some of the behaviours of leaders that have inspired us:

  • Our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is always well groomed and well dressed. He is confident, makes it a point to spend time with fellow leaders and his followers all over the world.

Narendra Modi

  • Barak Obama is known to interact and be respectful with all rungs of employees in the White House including the Office Boys, Cooks, Janitors, Servers, etc.

Barack Obama

  • Mahatma Gandhi was known to be friendly with all his opponents, including the British, and would communicate with them with respect.

Mahatma Gandhi

  • Actor, Amitabh Bachhan, is known to be punctual and reaches meetings and his set before time.


  • Subhash Chandra Bose was known for his positive thinking even in the most difficult of situations.

Subhash Chandra Bose

  • Sardar Patel maintained his balance and continued his speech in a program, even though he got to know his mother had just passed away.

Sardar Patel

  • Tony Robbins, the popular NLP trainer, spends 30 minutes daily in meditation and physical exercise at the start of the day.

  • Oprah Winfrey writes 5 things she is grateful for at the end of every day.

  • Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, wakes up at 3.45am daily. He feels it’s the best time to focus on himself and get his most important work done.

Tim Cook

The list is endless….

Punctuality, discipline, resilience, respect, gratitude, etc. were some of the behaviours and attitudes that these leaders displayed. And see where they have taken them! Even if we could master just one of these qualities, it could really take us places…

But before telling you the secret of how you can, let’s answer the age-old question. Do Leaders have to work hard to develop their Behavioural Skills or are they plain lucky and are born with them. 

Leaders – Born or Made

So, what do you think. Does the unique behaviour of Leaders exist from birth or is it something they learn over time?

Research suggests that inspiring and successful leaders are not only born with leadership skills. They can also be made or created.

Some leaders are born with inherent leadership skills. Their internal processes are pretty well sorted! Hence, they have healthy and positive beliefs, values, attitude and self-awareness levels. These are already existing in them genetically and a true gift to them by mother nature. As a result, they tend to behave in ways that may be quite different from the rest of the crowd. However, inherently talented leaders also have to enhance and sharpen their leadership skills as they progress in life. They need to keep a keen eye on their internal processes as they could lead to their downfall like the case of Adolf Hitler.

And what about leaders who did not possess leadership skills from the start of their lives? Many of them came from humble backgrounds and faced plenty of hardships in life. They, however, developed their leadership skills over a period of time and went on to become an inspiration for so many. We have the likes of Louise Hay, Rishi Valmiki, Martin Luther King and Oprah Winfrey to name a few.

Now how did these leaders, with backgrounds similar to that of the common man or even below, actually grow to this level? By working on themselves throughout their lives and becoming a better version of themselves every time.

And you know the best part? You can too.


By first deciding which behavioural trait/s you want to develop as your trademark. To help choose the trait, look around in the environment you function in. Identify the needs of your team and organisation. Also look at those of your family and friends. What trait would help you manage and inspire them. Also reflect on your current situation. What does it need you to become? Think about your limiting patterns….

For more insights on how to improve your behavioural skills to become a better leader, read the sequel to this article – Improving Behavioural Skills in Leaders. It will guide you on how you can become the leader of your dreams….Ready???






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