Some people seem to float through life effortlessly. Promotions come to them. Raises are provided. Direct reports and those on other teams naturally follow them. And people like them.

What’s the difference between a leader with an advanced degree, certificates in leadership and no loyal team members and the leader down the hall who everyone turns to for real direction and guidance? Here are three secrets of natural leaders.


Fjaka, according to this article from AFAR magazine, is a state of being with less effort that permeates the lifestyle in Dubrovnik, Croatia. While the idea of forgoing schedules or phones may sound impossible, a local art historian quoted in the article stated it simply, "the pauses in the music are also part of the music. You wouldn’t have a melody without the stops. They make music together. So the pauses in life are part of life, too."

In other words, it is important for us to understand when we have done enough for the day. Similarly, taking time to appreciate the efforts we and our teams have exerted, and not over-planning for the sake of maintaining an unsustainable schedule are all keys to embracing the composure and confidence of a natural leader.

While it is not necessary to travel to Dubrovnik to practice, scheduling vacations, practicing meditation or taking a technology fast are all ways leaders can broaden perspective, strengthen priorities and reinforce purpose.

Positive Cycle

Calmness is as powerful as toxicity. Maintaining perspective, embracing clear priorities and a purpose can send positive ripples through a department as much as a negative employee can suck the wind out of the sails.

Yet, with so many demands on our time, it can be extremely challenging to present a calm front. While it may seem counter-intuitive, one of the best ways to stay composed is to give.

Helping others, whether they are colleagues or team members reinforces our own strengths, reminds us of our why and, best of all, assists someone else. Despite the pressing nature of their work, natural leaders make the time to support the growth of those around them.


In addition to their inherent sense of calm and composure, natural leaders have an ability to clearly convey their purpose to a varied audience.

They focus on the way someone needs to hear the message, not the way they may want to convey it. That ability to convey information in a compelling way is another differentiator of natural leaders.

TED Talks provide millions of excellent examples of the power of storytelling to capture the attention of a varied audience. However, it is not necessary to present, pontificate or power point to get your point across. Instead, a great way to become an engaging communicator is to practice listening.

By absorbing and thoughtfully responding to others, we can make deeper connections, learn different styles of communication, understand others’ priorities, and thus strengthen our ability to clearly convey our message.

The bottom line is, by slowing down and giving our time to help and listen to others, we can strengthen our natural leadership skills.