Great Leadership Traits

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
~Jack Welch

Dianne had always felt like more of a wallflower than a leader. However, she had mastered her current role in her publishing company and really wanted to get promoted to a higher-level position.

To get there, she knew she had to focus on growing her leadership skills. She began working with an executive coach who gave her weekly exercises to do in order to hone those abilities. Within a couple of months, her boss had remarked about her growing leadership competencies and suggested she might be a prime candidate for a directorial position one day.

What do great leaders do? They instill feelings of confidence and motivate their workers. Many people struggle to understand how they can achieve the same results.

Here’s the good news: If you have the motivation, you absolutely can master the necessary skills to become a star leader.

Some people are born with an inherent ability to get others to follow them. However, charisma isn’t the only trait of a great leader. A lot of the personality traits that make for highly effective leaders are built on a solid foundation of emotional maturity and drive.

Here are the most essential traits that great leaders have. If you want to aspire toward a career in leadership, work toward building and developing these characteristics.

  1. Great leaders have Integrity.
    Leaders’ honesty and ability to follow a set of ethics in all of their work affects their ability to influence their followers. Demonstrate your integrity by keeping your word and showing that the human element of what you do matters more than anything else. Set and maintain strong corporate responsibility guidelines, if you’re in a position to make such decisions. Your employees will be proud to work at a firm that takes social responsibility seriously.
  2. Great leaders have Intelligence.
    This may seem like a no-brainer, but great leaders should be able to think critically and solve problems. Emotional intelligence is an important trait, too. Great leaders get results by working effectively with others and building strong relationships with the people they supervise. Keep an open mind when it comes to problem-solving. Seeking a range of input will increase the overall intelligence you have to work with.
  3. Great leaders have high energy.
    Leadership requires enormous drive, hard work, good stress-management skills, and enthusiasm. Find ways to recharge during your downtime and destress your life, so you can maintain the optimistic outlook and drive it takes to succeed as a leader.
  4. Great leaders bring stability.
    Being in control of emotions that are disruptive to others is another critical component of being a great leader. Find a relaxation technique that helps you maintain calm within the storm when difficult situations arise. If you tend to get anxious or angry easily, make a habit of not responding immediately to emails or phone calls that spark those emotions. Take a few moments to re-center first.
  5. Great leaders have high standards.
    Great leaders set high professional standards for themselves as well as their employees. They remind themselves of the standards they want to meet and the image they want to create on a daily basis. The needs of the organization and its employees are their top priority. In many ways, a great leader is self-sacrificing. They’re willing to have tough conversations and take on demanding work for the sake of the greater good.
  6. Great leaders have a strong inner voice.
    Using gut instincts and reasoning, great leaders are able to quickly assimilate information and arrive at a conclusion. They trust their intuition and allow it to guide their decisions. While they often seek additional input, they’re not usually starting at square one.
  7. Great leaders are confident in their decisions.
    Great leaders know that the choices they make are the best ones, and they don’t hesitate to make tough decisions, even if that means having to fire someone. They can confidently explain the rationale behind their choices, maintaining transparency. They are also capable of mitigating damage in the event of a bad choice, knowing they’re not infallible.
  8. Great leaders invest in their own growth.
    By keeping abreast of new developments in leadership methods, great leaders can ensure that they will continue to serve as a valuable resource to their company. They strive to read up on new techniques and approaches, and to brush up on them with leadership skills trainings.

Knowing what makes a boss or leader great is not enough. You must also take steps to put your knowledge into action. For instance, you can grow your confidence by building a support team and challenging yourself to take smaller risks. If you’re an aspiring leader, take a few minutes right now to list the steps you will take this week to become a stronger leader. Or, if you’re a manager working to grow your people’s leadership qualities, prompt them to list those steps for themselves.

As an executive coach, Joel Garfinkle is an expert at helping promising employees develop leadership qualities. Contact him to learn more about his executive coaching services.

Choosing the Best Motivational Leadership Speakers

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born—that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
—Warren Bennis

Randall, an HR executive, felt that he and many other company managers possessed excellent leadership skills. However, he wanted to bring in someone who not only modeled leadership skills but could articulate exactly how to develop them—all within a captivating presentation. That was a tall order, and it called for a skilled outside speaker.

He was well-networked with senior executive’s at the most prestigious companies in the world. He learned how they would invest in training courses on business leadership for their top-performing employees. They hired the best speakers on corporate leadership to elevate their star employees to the next level. He wanted to take his employees’ success just as seriously by hiring the best speaker he could afford.

Top organizations hire top-tier speakers because they choose wisely. They know the most important criteria to look for in a corporate trainer. They choose someone who’s not just charismatic, but who instills vital knowledge and skills in employees that drives results.

When it comes to succession planning for your organization, here are three things you should keep in mind when choosing a training program for your future leaders:

  1. Get to know the style of your speaker.
    No two speakers on leadership are alike. Everyone has a different style and technique. Some are purely motivational—firing up your employees to perform—and some offer factual case studies and industry examples to show how to elevate managing skills, build a cohesive team, or maximize productivity. The best kind of leadership speaker is one who compels your people to take action but also offers them the hands-on tools they need to get started.
  2. Make sure the leadership program fits your needs.
    Prior to a talk, experienced leadership speakers will conduct research to develop a better understanding of what your company is about and what you want to achieve.For example, if you’ve identified that decision-making and delegation are two key areas that need extra attention, the speaker will work to pinpoint the specific hurdles you’ve addressed in those areas. If you need to strengthen leaders’ communication skills, that’s what your speaker will hone in on. Talking to multiple people at different levels of the organization will help the speaker understand what most needs to be addressed. The speaker will also interview star employees to learn more about the issues affecting them and what areas they’d like to strengthen to help identify additional areas for improvement.
  3. Select a leadership speaker who will follow-up after the training.
    Speakers who specialize in leadership trainings recognize that sustaining the lessons learned from the training requires follow-up. They’re willing to maintain a continuous relationship with you to give employees the mentoring they need if you desire. By doing so, they can help leaders to excel in their roles, providing valuable insight into how both leaders and the company need to grow.Ask your potential speakers what additional services they offer. Even if you’re not sure yet which extra services you need, having options gives you flexibility in your leadership development planning.

Randall secured a speaker who accomplished all of those objectives, providing ongoing leadership development to promising employees. There is no better time to plan for the future of your organization than now. It takes time to build, sharpen, polish, and perfect strong leadership. A speaker who delivers a top-notch leadership training program will prime your rising stars to become tomorrow’s top execs.

Hire the right speaker on leadership and rest assured that the future of your organization is in safe hands.

Executive Presence Training

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker

Braxton Asks: To prepare my high-performers to take on more challenging roles, my company wants to hold a leadership training event. What should we be looking for in a training meant to prepare them for executive positions?

Joel Answers: The most important quality your talent pipeline of leaders need to have to move to the next level is executive presence. By experiencing this executive presence program, leaders will acquire the necessary traits to develop their executive presence and become the elite performers who influence outcomes, contribute to major decisions, and drive change for the betterment of the company.

If you want someone to instill your star employees with the skills and presence to excel as executives, you need someone with proven expertise in training up-and-coming execs. You also need to make sure that person can give you a detailed description of the training he or she will provide, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

For example, a multi-billion-dollar biotechnology company recently contacted me for a training on executive presence to help newly minted high-potential mid-level managers reach the next level of leadership. Here’s the program and what the audience learned.

Title of the training:
Executive Presence: Four Ways to Convey Confidence and Command Respect as a Leader.

The audience learned how to:

  1. Radiate Gravitas: Be poised, confident, in command, and charismatic.
  2. Act with Authority: Be decisive, bold, accountable, and convincing.
  3. Build a Positive Reputation: Be seen as credible, trustworthy, respected, and reliable.
  4. Communicate Powerfully: Be concise, prepared, and deliver confident messages with conviction.

Often people believe that executive presence is something you’re either born with or lacking. Up-and-coming leaders need to know how to cultivate it. They need to understand the specific behaviors they can practice, day after day, in order to build the kind of executive presence they’ve admired in other leaders. In this training, I take the mystery out of executive presence so audience members can begin carefully crafting it within themselves.

Outcomes of this executive presence training:
By taking part in this program, leaders learned to carry themselves with confidence and be sure of their abilities and what they are able to produce and accomplish. They gained the confidence and respect of their co-workers and supervisors. They were assigned high-profile projects and put in situations where they can create impact and exercise influence. They gained the confidence to seize the reins in their careers.

There are thousands of speakers all over the nation, which can definitely make the selection process feel daunting. But by knowing what you want and finding a speaker who can deliver in that specific area, you’ll ensure the program will drive results.

If you want your leaders to develop executive presence, hire Joel Garfinkle. He’s the subject matter expert and has been speaking on the topic of executive presence for twenty years.

How to Book the Right Motivational Speaker

“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.” ― Gina Greenlee

Joyce, a manager at a fast-growing IT firm, had been tasked with finding the perfect motivational speaker for her company’s training seminar. She needed someone truly capable of nurturing her high-performing employees’ growth. As she surfed the web, she saw many slick websites but wondered how she could truly evaluate the quality of their work.

Selecting the right keynote speaker can mean the difference between a successful corporate conference and a colossal waste of time and money. If, like Joyce, you’re wondering how to book the right motivational speaker, you’re not alone.

Locating and booking a speaker can be overwhelming. Many speakers claim to provide keynote speeches that inspire and teach, but if you are committed to excellence, you’ll need to choose carefully. The best speakers instill not only enthusiasm, but also guidance and practical advice.

First you must determine your goal for the event. Do you wish to increase productivity among your employees or to nurture leadership in your management team, for example? Whatever your goal, you must find a keynote speaker who can deliver on it.

Want to know how to screen and book the right motivational speaker for you? Looking at these five points will help ensure you select a speaker who is the best fit for your company and your event’s objectives.

  1. Experience and credentials of the speaker.
    Although a less-experienced speaker may be more economical for your event budget, a speaker with top-notch credentials will be a better long-term investment. Which companies have hired this speaker in the past? Look for experience presenting to companies that are similar to yours in focus, philosophy, and culture. Read the testimonials on your candidates’ websites, and contact references. Look at whether the speaker has published relevant articles and books that demonstrate expertise on the issues you wish to address.
  2. Customization for the corporate training.
    To reach your conference participants, the keynote speaker must truly know your company and its people, environment, and culture. Look for someone who understands your event’s objectives and will spend significant time preparing for it by gathering information, communicating with event coordinators, and interviewing key participants. A great professional keynote speaker will be flexible, adapting the presentation to your company’s culture, your employees’ needs, and the style and tone of your event. That means when you talk with the speaker by phone or email, he should be asking you some pointed questions about your company and what you’re looking for. Choose a speaker who demonstrates that level of thoughtfulness, not someone who’s just trying to make a quick sale.
  3. Presentation format of the seminar.
    Booking the right motivational speaker means hiring someone who offers a variety of formats, from structured self-inquiry to small-group activities to facilitated audience discussions. Great speakers understand that well-chosen team-building activities can have a powerful effect on morale. Judicious use of multimedia serves as another beneficial element in a great keynote address. Strong speakers can balance video and slideshow presentations with speaking and interaction with the audience.
  4. Speaking style of the motivational speaker.
    When researching your candidates, watch a speaker’s videos of them in action. You know your company and employees, and you know what kind of speaking style will be accessible to them and their working environment. Most professional keynote speakers have videos on their websites. Watch them, and try to imagine them speaking at your event. Do they use motivational stories to create a dynamic talk, or do they dryly state their points? A speaker who races through content without pausing to gauge audience reaction can be just as ineffective as one who is plodding or hesitant. It’s important to have a speaking style that challenges and engages audiences.
  5. Immediate, measurable results for the participants.
    Conferences and seminars are designed to leave employees inspired and motivated. Your employees should be able to implement what they have learned immediately because the speaker has shown them exactly how to do that. Book a motivational speaker who will provide participants with skills that they can take straight back to their desks, so they can begin transforming your company into a more productive and profitable enterprise. In your candidates’ videos, observe whether they effectively impart new skills and tactics to their audience—and in your conversation, ask for examples!

Booking the right professional keynote speaker will make all the difference in your event, and in your company. Use these five points to choose wisely, and you’ll find a speaker who genuinely cares about driving results and has the skills to do it.

Looking to book a speaker for your next event? Hire Joel Garfinkle because he is a motivational speaker who possesses these five qualities in abundance.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
-Ray Kroc

Easton Asks: I want to hire a great professional keynote speaker for an event I’m helping to plan. However, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a feel-good speech that doesn’t deliver results. How can I find the speaker who will provide the best value?

Joel Answers: The cost of a hiring a professional speaker for your keynote address can vary significantly, but it’s important not to cut costs by choosing the cheapest speaker rather than the one who is best for the job. You want your event to shine, and that won’t happen unless you choose the best professional speaker you can afford. Having said this, no matter the cost, make sure the speaker’s service provides solid value.

What qualities should you require a keynote speaker to have?
Most importantly, the ability to not only fire up an audience but to empower them to think strategically about their careers. The best speakers catalyze lasting change by helping audiences devise a clear plan of action for stepping into leadership roles.

Whether you are hosting an all-day high-potential training or a corporate event, a professional keynote speaker has the power not just to motivate your employees, but also to help you cut costs by improving your people’s efficiency and productivity. They’ll learn strategies for working smarter, and by increasing their engagement, they’ll get more results.

  1. Ask questions of your professional speaker.
    You can increase the value you’ll get from the speaker by asking plenty of questions during the screening process. Find out where the speaker’s strengths lie and determine whether those strengths match up with your company’s needs. Tell the speaker about the challenges your company is facing and ask how he will address those problem areas. You should interview at least two or three candidates before making a choice.
  2. Find out what other services the speaker offers.
    Ask your candidates what services and programs they have to offer in addition to the keynote speech, and figure out how those can be incorporated into your event. Can they double as an emcee for your event? Can they hold a breakout session after the keynote address? Add an additional service or two that might normally require hiring multiple people but could be done by a single speaker, and you just might be able to get a discount and save money on the overall cost of the event.
  3. Treat your speaker as an investment, not an expense.
    In order for your business to be profitable, you can only cut corners so much. As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Remember that your speaker is an investment in your employees. If you pick the right speaker, you’ll see a measurable return on investment due to increased confidence, morale, and productivity. Only then will your event be a true success.

Wondering whether you’ve found the perfect speaker? Watch videos of your speaking candidates online to observe their speaking style. Any accomplished speakers will have videos that demonstrate whether they’re a truly captivating presenter. Are they charismatic—when they enter the room, would people turn their heads in anticipation of what they are going to say? Listen for the audience’s reaction, too—do funny anecdotes get a genuine laugh, or do jokes fizzle out? How does the overall pacing feel?
Did you watch a speaker’s video and think, I would love to have this person speak to my people! Set up a phone conversation. Ask questions like these:

  • What types of audiences do you speak to?
  • What kinds of tools do you share with employees for helping them make changes?
  • Are you available to lead a breakout session and/or follow-up training?

With the right professional speaker, your keynote will give your employees an actionable plan they can implement to achieve their career goals. They’ll leave the session more driven, with clearer goals, and ready to implement the changes that will take their career and their company to the next level.

Hire Joel Garfinkle for a speaking engagement and see for yourself why he is one of the most sought-after motivational and professional speakers.