The 20 Qualities of the Inspirational Leader

There was an article in All About Agile blog, entitled 20 Qualities of an Agile Leader. Well, the title is a little misleading and the author clarifies later that all kind of teams need inspirational leadership and these are the 20 qualities of the inspirational leader:

  1. Strong communication – storytelling and listening
  2. Passion for learning and intense curiosity
  3. Focus on developing people
  4. Having fun and being very energized
  5. Strong self-belief, coupled with humanity and humility
  6. Committed to making a significant difference
  7. Clarity of vision and ability to share it with others
  8. Dogged determination and often relentlessness
  9. Strong focus on priorities
  10. Not afraid to show some vulnerability
  11. Regular use of reflective periods to think and learn
  12. Real passion and pride in what they do
  13. Confidence and trust in their teams, giving them real empowerment
  14. Respect for all (team members, temps, customers, suppliers and directors alike)
  15. Clear standards of ethics and integrity; openness and honesty
  16. Ability to drive, inspire and embrace change and continuous improvement
  17. Positive attitude at all times and an innate ability to be diplomatic in any circumstances
  18. Lateral thinking and ability to find innovative ideas and solutions to problems
  19. Ability to inspire and motivate others
  20. Willingness to take (calculated) risks

I find this list quite comprehensive. I marked the ones I find most important for me in blue. I find them the most important probably because I still need to improve these qualities in me. How about you? Do you agree with all the points? What are the most important ones for you? Do you have all these qualities?


  • Pawel Brodzinski says:

    Although the list is quite comprehensive I definitely miss one thing there: ability to deal with different problems. I don’t mean here leader who has all the answers, but the one who show no resignation and no panic, no matter how tough problems he has to deal with.

    From my perspective the most important points on the list are 13 and 19 (which are connected). No matter how hard you try they’re people who work on your success or failure. You won’t do everything alone. By the way that’s usually the lesson which is the hardest to learn for new leaders.

    My weakness is 17. I show a lot of emotions both positive and negative. I can’t keep myself smiled all the time the same as I can’t keep myself diplomatic all the time. And to be honest I’m not definitely sure if I want to change it.

  • Mike Ramm says:


    Thank you for your comment!

    I wouldn’t say that showing emotions is a weakness. We are human beings so this is natural. I believe that people will trust you more if they see that you are someone like them.


  • Pawel Brodzinski says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure. There’s no reason to show outside problems you could have to face as a manager (e.g. issues with budget) or to bring down all the political issues within the company (e.g. clash with your superiors). As far as these are positive emotions you show, that’s OK, but sharing negative attitude with the team doesn’t help much really.

    By the way I was advised several times already to change my attitude to more positive one, so the issue isn’t seen exclusively by me.

  • Mike Ramm says:

    Well, I agree that it depends on the issue. You shouldn’t “lose your nerves” as we say in Bulgarian, you should learn to keep your anger down, for example. But sometimes emotions are uncontrollable and I think it’s not so bad because you show that you are a human and not a robot.

    Anyway, it still depends on the particular situation.

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