Photo by Sarah Wolfe on Unsplash

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

Jessica Stillman
4 min readNov 29, 2023


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