The same few names come to our minds when we think of great leaders: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and mother Teresa. Maybe Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau.. and a few more.

Why are they different, special and powerful? None of them was born into a position of power. They were not called leaders because of their positions but they came into their positions because they were leaders. Yet we do see a lot of leaders in powerful positions today, like Trump, with one key difference: they are not great.

Researching deeper into that question, these three key qualities came up for me: 

  1. INTEGRITY. Integrity is the quality of “being your own word”. Being accountable, reliable and committed. Integrity creates a sense of trust, stability and security people are so desperately looking for and which is so rare to find.
  2. PRESENCE. Being present with another person is the biggest gift we have to offer: our full attention. We all are magically drawn towards people who are in a state of presence and a clear and focused mind. This immediately deepens relationships and allows a sense of connectedness, freedom to express and safety, leading to creativity, joy and new possibilities.
  3. KINDNESS. Kindness is the expression of a warm, loving and compassionate heart. It has nothing to do with “nicing around”, it can show up in clear messages, “tough love” as well as difficult messages. It is more than “not being an asshole” (which is already a lot some times). Kindness is like an underlying warm light coloring and shining through everything you say and do. Same thing done with and without kindness has a dramatically different impact. Maybe this is what is lacking the most these days.

These 3 qualities will not make people great leaders, but for me they are the precondition for qualifying as leaders.

When these qualities collapse a lion will follow you at a thin string.