motivating others

What makes a good leader, exactly? Some answers may vary, but one remains constant: a good leader has the ability to lead others, literally. Simply having more power or responsibility does not equate with good leadership skills. Leadership comes from having the ability to  motivate others to follow your lead.

Many excellent leaders share a few common traits: empathy, humility, and self-awareness. Let’s break these personality traits down.

Empathy in a Leadership Position

Empathy goes a long way in the workplace and the business world. A leader with a strong sense of empathy is not “soft”, but rather is able to run their business more efficiently because they know their employees better.

Having empathy also does not equal being overrun by emotions. An empathetic approach to an employee who is struggling, for example, may involve asking questions to find out why they are struggling, rather than simply telling them they are not doing a good job. Even a simple, small tweak in approach can earn a leader instant respect. After all, empathy comes from a place of respect.

Leaders with Humility

Leading with humility doesn’t always come naturally, just as the same can be said for having empathy. Humility does not mean always taking blame from problems, either, but rather it means having the wherewithal to be able to logically assess a situation and any responsibility.

Admitting when someone is wrong can be difficult, even with a healthy dose of humility. For a leader,  admitting fault can be seen as a sign of weakness, but it’s really an indicator of humility. Rather than looking for a place to put the blame, accepting responsibility for trouble will help a leader find a proper solution in a more timely  manner.

Self-Awareness for Leadership Success

Just as with empathy and humility, having a strong sense of self-awareness is also a key ingredient for effective leadership. A person in a leadership position who is self-aware knows when to admit wrongdoing or fault and knows when to ask for help.

Self-awareness helps individuals set their egos aside in favor of looking at a problem without emotion and just logic instead. In the workplace and the business world, it can be hard to find leaders with a well-honed sense of self. This is something leaders should continually be  working to improve, as it only serves to earn more respect and loyalty.

Using These Skills to Motivate

With these three skills that can always be improved, leaders may find it easier to motivate others to follow them. Why? Because they have a stronger sense of exactly what makes their audience tick, what grabs their attention and makes them sit up and listen.

By harnessing humility, empathy, and self-awareness, an effective leader can rally his or her troops with an authentic connection that comes from making a real, concerted effort. In addition, employees or peers who are motivated purely out of personal buy-in or connection are even more loyal than those who are simply bribed or berated by their superiors.

Taking these personality traits to heart will help improve morale, loyalty, and trust within any environment. These are not easy skills to cultivate, but the benefits will be worth the hard work  in the end.


Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.