What Makes an Inspiring Leader at KEH?

Motivated by a Harvard Business Review article of Bain & Company’ research program, we asked our KEH Team what attributes not only make a leader, but an inspiring leader. We wanted to know what creates employee engagement and fosters a sense of commitment to company values and vision.


The Inspirational Leadership System

Bain’s Inspirational Leadership System surveyed 2,000 people on what skills are intrinsic to inspiration leaders found that there were 33 statistically significant traits in 4 areas of leadership. The four areas include:


1.  Developing Inner Resources (yourself)

2.  Connecting with Others (1 on 1)

3.  Setting the Tone (team)

4.  Leading the Team (formal leadership)


Harvard’s Business Review delved a little deeper and surmised a few findings that we’ve captured below.

Harvard Business Review Findings

You only 1 trait to be truly inspiring. People who inspire are incredibly diverse – there is no universal archetype. Caveat – There was 1 trait that matters most to those surveyed: centeredness. A state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathize, listen deeply, and remain present. Ranking in the top 10% in your peer group on just one attribute nearly 2x your chance of being seen as inspirational.


Effective leadership isn’t generic. Leaders must be spiky, not well-rounded, and those “spikes” must be relevant to how the company creates value. Inspiring leaders focus on specific capabilities that underpin the company’s advantage and concentrate efforts and resources on those capabilities. Brilliant concept to leverage your company’s strengths and focus on the spikes.


They think and operate outside of the box. Leaders who both inspire people and generate results carefully choose moments to “constructively disrupt established behaviors to help employees break out of culture-weakening routines.”

KEH's Survey Results

We surveyed the KEH Team on what they think are the makings of an inspiring leader in the designated Bain Inspirational Leadership categories and the results were insightful and true to our team’s values.

Developing Inner Resources (yourself)

1.  Stress Tolerance

2.  Flexibility

3.  Optimism

Connecting with Others (1 on 1)

1.  Listening

2.  Humility

3.  Empathy


Setting the Tone (team)

1.  Follow Through

2.  Unselfishness

3.  Responsibility


Leading the Team (formal leadership)

1.  Vision

2.  Empowerment

3.  Direction

4.  Focus