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August 17, 2023

4 Keys to Becoming a Leader People Love to Follow

By Craig Groeschel

What makes the best leaders the best?

The best leaders aren’t always the most popular, best looking, or fastest thinking, but they’re the leaders people just love to follow.

In studying top leaders, I’ve found four key characteristics that set them apart. Luckily, these four characteristics are things you and I can start developing today:

1. Great leaders have a heart to care.

You will never be a leader others love to follow if you aren’t a leader who loves people.

A practical way to demonstrate that you love your team is to use these four words:

“I notice. You matter.”

Be observant, walk around, and ask questions. When you see someone going above and beyond or you see someone in pain, let them know you notice. Then, follow up with a way to show them they matter.

Let them know the effort they’re putting in matters to you and to the organization.

The number one reason people leave companies is because they feel undervalued. So, appreciate more than you think you should. Then double it.

Remember: Some leaders will make you think that THEY are important. The best leaders will help you see that YOU are important.

2. Great leaders have a passion to inspire.

Inspiring people is different than motivating them.

Motivation is urging people to do something they don’t want to do. Inspiration is about pulling out the best of what’s already in them.

Being an inspiring leader doesn’t always mean giving impassioned speeches. You can also be inspiring by being optimistic, having a posture of humility, setting a clear vision, consistently following through, and being empathetic.

One of the most important qualities of inspiring leaders is centeredness.

A centered leader is confident, stable, fully engaged, driven by purpose, obsessed by mission, and fully aligned with their values.

To learn more, join me for a deep dive into centered leadership in this episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast.

3. Great leaders are willing to empower.

The best leaders unleash high performance through empowerment, not command and control.

If you think you need to control everything, you’re the one getting in the way of progress.

A leader can’t just delegate tasks—that only creates followers. Instead, a leader should learn to delegate authority. When you delegate authority, freedom, and decision-making power, you create owners.

As a leader, make the decisions only you can make. Delegate the rest.

Empower your team by telling them: You decide.

If all the decision-making power is locked up in the top layers of leadership, you won’t be able to scale or adapt or grow quickly.

4. Great leaders have the courage to be real.

Leadership is not about power, authority, or pride.

Your posture as a leader should be the first thing you work on—be authentic and vulnerable, be understanding and kind, expect a lot, and work hard.

People would rather follow a leader who’s always real than a leader who’s always right.

For more on being an authentic leader, listen to the episode “How to Be Real and Not Be Weird” on the Leadership Podcast.

Master the 8 Habits of Great Leaders

As you work on centeredness and authenticity in your leadership, there are very practical things you can practice, too. Like not hitting the snooze button when you wake up in the morning.

Remember, great leaders are fanatically consistent with a few strategic habits.

Get my one-page guide outlining eight of the habits great leaders have in common. (#2 is something you can implement today.)

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