I was flipping through magazines, and some of these thoughts flashed on my mind. True leaders may be gifted with exceptional qualities, but it is how they work collaboratively with their people that make great things happen.

What kinds of leaders inspire us to do more, to scale greater heights, to conquer great challenges that frighten most people?

1. He is with me

Would you follow a leader who hides away from challenges, and not face up to the same challenge you face? When you confront difficult terrains and challenges daily, would you prefer a leader who merely encourage you with empty words? Or would you rather serve with a leader who dares to roll up sleeves and get to work alongside with you, fighting business challenges together?

2. He learns, and I learn

In a fast-changing world today, yesterday’s knowledge may become obsolete today, or at most, a short while thereafter. When we stop learning, we become terribly stagnant and soon, we will be useless to the business environment we operate in. Every day is a new learning challenge, a new learning opportunity. We must embrace learning as a habit, and as a passion. Therefore, would you follow a leader who holds perilously on to antiquated knowledge that may have little semblance to reality now and have little applications in the business landscape? Or would you rather follow a leader who keeps pace with you in learning, or even ahead of you so that you can always benefit from his insights and knowledge?

3. He does not need “yes” men

All too often, communities within a business environment becomes stagnant not only with the lack of learning, but also with people who are more interested in self-preservation than in truly contributing to the growth of the business entity. In short, too many “yes” men who rally behind leaders, offering no real help, and no real growth for the company. Would you rather work with a leader who prefers to gather a bunch of “yes” men to echo his own thoughts and ways? Or would you rather work with a leader who gathers a varied team of people which brings varied experiences, complementary knowledge, and creative inputs to the table?

4. He has courage as his middle name

A leader is someone we look up to, to make difficult decisions when we dare not, or would not. The leader cannot be a symbol of fear. The leader must be a symbol of strength, integrity, fortitude, and courage. When things get tough, he is in front of us to take the heat. When things look impossible, he encourages us forward, with him in front as our shield. Would you follow a leader who leaves us in the lurch when trouble hits shore? Or would you rather follow a leader who takes all blame, cedes all praise to our efforts (however humble), and is someone we can instinctively lean on during challenging times?

The business world is getting tougher, and we need leaders of steel. We can all do with more inspiration at our business battlegrounds.