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The №1 Sign That You Will Be a Great Leader, According to a Yale Management Professor

Jessica Stillman

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Have you ever had to work or interact with someone who just sucked all your energy? Maybe you can’t put your finger on exactly why, but just being in the same room as this person made you feel tired, irked, or uninspired?

I think most of us would answer yes to this question (with a specific example or two leaping instantly to mind), and that apparently includes scientists, too. Researchers have actually investigated this phenomenon, labeling those folks who just seem to exhaust and annoy others for no specific reason as having negative “affective presence.”

This science confirms that some people consistently suck the joy out of others, even when they are themselves content and cheerful. But as of yet, it hasn’t pinpointed exactly why some people have this effect.

However, scientists did recently learn something new and fascinating about the somewhat mysterious quality of affective presence. If having a negative one drags you down in life, having a positive one is the single best predictor out there that you will be a successful leader, according to recent research out of Yale.

The energizing quality all great leaders share

“Researchers and leaders have looked for the secret to successful leadership for centuries. Dozens of new books each year promise to deliver the answer. We decided to examine this question empirically,” report Yale management professor Emma Seppälä and her collaborator Kim Cameron of the University of Michigan in the Harvard Business Review recently.

What did their research reveal? The single greatest predictor of leadership success is not “charisma, influence, or power. It is not personality, attractiveness, or innovative genius. The one thing that supersedes all these factors is positive relational energy: the energy exchanged between people that helps uplift, enthuse, and renew them,” the article states.

In short, the best sign that you will excel as a leader is how your presence makes other people feel. The more energy and good vibes you radiate to others, the better you’re likely to do as a leader.

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Jessica Stillman

Top Inc.com columnist/ Editor/ Ghostwriter. Book lover. Travel fiend. Nap enthusiast. https://jessicastillman.com/