When you look at good leaders you find they have three of these qualities. They are good communicators, are administrative and relational. But if you are looking for a great leader they are going to line up these qualities in such a way to have humility stuck right in the middle to hold their leadership together.
The greatest leaders are highly relational. They engage in conversation, have a great handshake, take an interest in you as a person and make you feel like a better person just because you've been in their presence.
Some are extroverts and some are introvertsIt's no secret that I'm an extrovert. Just last weekend I was speaking at a camp and I felt like I was with 300+ of my new best friends. I had a ton of conversations with people of all ages and stages in life. Just because I'm an extrovert doesn't mean that all great leaders are extroverted. Some people are refreshed just by being with others and some are refreshed by being with others.
I've served with introverted and extroverted leaders. I've seen both of them be great at being relationship driven. These leaders have a great sense of people and spending time with them. They look people in the eyes, focus on their sentences and stay tuned in the conversation.
One of my strengths is having WOO (You can read more about it in StrengthsFinder). WOO stands for Winning Others Over. The strength of WOO is that I love to meet new people. I enjoy conversation. I like to hear about people. The dark side is I can be easily distracted and leave the conversation to early. I can loose interest because I'm constantly thinking about winning another person over as my next friend (this is me being vulnerable).
They engage you in a conversationGreat leaders know how to engage others in conversation. This conversation can be verbal, written, email or text. Craig Groeschel once told a story about his body posture in conversations. His friends informed him that in every conversation he kept his body turned to the side like he was waiting to leave the conversation. He improved on this and others felt more like he cared about them.
Great leaders will look to engage you in a conversation, you don't always have to do the heavy lifting to find them. When they are in a public setting, and it's appropriate, they will strike you a conversation. For a pastoral leader it will be them who might ask how you're doing. They may ask how your Bible time is going or if you're connected in a small group. In other sectors it might look how Casey Niestat lives his life. Watch this video around the 5:30 mark to see this in play.
When I train leaders I highly encourage them to ask people seven questions to show they really care. It's easy to ask, "How are you doing?" but the truth is, that's not really a question any more, it's a greeting we use in California. Ask people where they are from, what they enjoy to do, see if they have a family, where they went to college or what their favorite food is. I avoid asking about work because we don't want our work to define us.
The conversation leaves you feeling greatWhen I think back to the great leaders I've met, I've generally left the conversation feeling amazing. The leader may have affirmed something in my life. They leader might have asked me a question about myself or took an interest in what I was focusing on.
Let me tell you what the leader didn't do:
He/She did start checking their phone
Look around the room for a more interesting person
Talk about all their accomplishments
Ask me to read their next book
A few days ago I was talking with a friend who attended a leadership event in Irvine. At this event there was a great leader who I follow Carey Neuhoff. He said the event was so small that he just hung out with Carey. He was bragging about what a great leader Carey is and how fun it was to see him. In his meeting Carey the first thing Carey said was something like, "Man, those are great shoes! I love them." He left that interaction feeling great! That is what great leaders do.