Inspiring examples of leadership in the workplace

Uncover the benefits of inspirational leadership from real-life leaders who inspire employees to be passionate about their work.

Muinat Zubair

Published on 

May 31, 2023

Updated on 

Time to Read

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If you want your company to survive the ever-evolving market, and stay in tune with new technologies, marketing trends and customer needs, you must have inspirational leaders. 

Consider this survey which states only 22% of US workers agree their leaders have a clear direction for their organization. How do you thrive in a fast-paced future without inspiring leaders who nurture and motivate their teams to take on challenging goals?  

Here, we’ll walk you through real-life examples of inspiring leaders and how they showed exemplary leadership skills.

Shall we?

What is inspirational leadership?

Inspirational leadership is the ability to influence qualities that drive others to deliver their best and perform beyond expectation. 

An inspirational leader motivates their team to perform exceptionally well through continuous learning and development. You can expect employees with inspiring leaders to be high-performers that maintain momentum throughout the organization. They promote personal and professional growth and, consequently, organizational development

What are the benefits of inspirational leadership?

Leaders can inspire their employees to be passionate about their work by demonstrating commitment, excellent work ethics and values. Inspirational leaders invest in and develop the talent of those around them to ultimately help the organization flourish. 

There are three key benefits to inspirational leadership, we will discuss them ‌below.

1. Increased employee engagement

The charisma of inspirational leaders charges their team members to explore and use their full potential. Inspiring leaders nurture a clear sense of purpose in their team. They also help individuals find value in their work. You can increase overall employee engagement by encouraging inspirational leadership through mentorship.

2. Productive and committed employees

When leaders model strong work ethics, employees can aspire to the same level of commitment. Employees need leaders who inspire them and are committed to actualizing the organization's vision. Inspirational leaders have exceptional motivation with which they develop high-performance teams willing to replicate their high professional standards. 

3. Achieving set goals

Employees with inspirational leaders are more likely to meet and even exceed their set goals. Inspirational leaders have values that align with that of their team, ‌encouraging them to set ambitious goals and be consistent with accomplishing them. Both parties achieve personal and professional success subsequently. 

Key traits of an inspirational leader

An inspirational leader is someone who already clearly understands their values. They show true conviction in their beliefs and are focused. 

This style of leadership is driven and committed to developing others. They embody transformative leadership and have high emotional intelligence. Inspiring leaders also help others develop their leadership skills and inspire them. 

Inspirational leaders naturally model the skills, traits and attributes they want in their employees. One of the most effective ways they do this is through mentorship

Here are some additional key traits inspirational leaders exhibit:


An inspiring leader has convincing leadership capabilities and direction the team members can aspire to. They can solve difficult situations with tact and grace, while promoting open communication and compassion for others.


Inspirational leaders are good at lifting others up. They acknowledge their team’s contribution by celebrating their wins. They also give constructive criticism on ways to improve and better solve problems. Their sense of purpose influences others and bring about positive changes in their workplace.  

Growth mindset

These leaders inspire others to grow by maintaining a growth mindset that encourages the people around them. They also have a progressive outlook and are good at carrying their team toward organizational growth and personal development.


The passion and zeal exhibited by inspirational leaders motivate their team members. They have genuine enthusiasm and zeal to see the company move forward. They also care about the progress and well-being of their team. This gives meaning to their work and encourages others to work with them for the greater good.   


Inspirational leaders are true to themselves, and this attracts people to them. Because they share details about themselves, it is easier for people to connect with them. Their background, challenges and hope for the future are clear for all to see. They are proud of their progress and ‌always act the same wherever they are. 


Inspiring leaders can communicate their goals effectively to their teams. They are approachable and support their team in achieving their goals. Inspiring leaders always carry their team members along, fostering a sense of community in their workplace. 


Inspiring leaders are far from being one-man teams. They have mentors who have inspired and helped them move up the ladder faster and more easily. Even if there’s no formal mentorship program in their workplace, mentorship is a key method to their teaching and inspiring others. Instead of taking the managerial approach, which is instructional, they mentor team members by showing via example.

9 Inspiring examples of leadership in the workplace

Your action and attitude as a leader can influence your direct reports. Inspirational leadership allows you to have a positive impact and motivate others towards success. As an executive or even entry-level employee, you can inspire others by learning and practising inspirational leadership. Under your leadership, employees can thrive, access growth opportunities and achieve career progression. 

In this section, we’ll share real-life examples of leadership as it should be, covering different industries. 

Richard Branson

Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group. He’s a known risk-taker who ventures into various industries. Music, airlines and space travel are just some of his exploits. By taking bold risks in other industries, he’s challenged the unspoken rule of founders staying within a particular industry. 

Leader traits displayed: Boldness, versatility and innovation 

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Kiran is the founder of a biotechnology company in India, Biocon. She built Biocon from scratch by leveraging her entrepreneurial skills. Under her influence, the company is now a leading biopharmaceutical company in the global playing field. 

Leadership traits displayed: Entrepreneurial spirit, visionary leadership

Feike Sijbesma

Feike is the former CEO of DSM, a global science-based company highlighting the importance of innovation and sustainability. He made DSM purpose-driven by focusing on providing solutions to global challenges such as climate change and malnutrition.

Leadership traits displayed: Purpose-driven leadership, focused individual, in tune with changing times

Indra Nooyi

Being the CEO of PepsiCo, Indra transformed the company’s portfolio by focusing on healthier food and beverage choices while prioritizing sustainability and social responsibility.

Leadership traits displayed: Transformative leadership

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is a popular name on this list. He built Amazon into a customer-centric company, through constant innovation to meet customer needs and providing exceptional service. Ultimately, Jeff is revolutionizing the e-commerce space. 

Leadership traits displayed: Customer-centricity 

Mary Barra

Mary Barra is the CEO of General Motors. She has implemented a culture of transparency, by being open with company challenges and fostering communication among employees and company stakeholders. 

Leadership traits displayed: Transparency and effective communication

Satya Nadella

As the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella prioritized empathy in the workplace by encouraging diversity and inclusion. She promotes a culture of work-life balance and focuses on employee well-being.

Leadership traits displayed: Empathy

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl is the COO of Facebook. She showed resilience following the sudden demise of her husband. She leveraged her personal experience to advocate for resilience and support for women in the workplace through her book, “Option B”. 

Leadership traits displayed: Resilience

Tim Cook

Tim Cook is another well-known figure on this list. The CEO of Apple has championed ethical leadership by advocating for privacy, sustainability, and responsible supply chain practices. He ensures Apple products are made in an ethical and transparent way. 

Leadership traits displayed: Ethical leadership

How mentoring helps to build inspirational leaders

Mentoring, when done correctly, can help organizations bring out the best in their employees. 

Consider this example of a women who learned confidence and public speaking skills under the guidance of their mentor. 

Creating a culture of mentoring ensures that leaders can pass on their knowledge and also build the next generation of leaders. 

Mentorship can be a healthy cycle for leaders to inspire their team members and ultimately build a workplace that fosters personal and professional development. 97% of those with mentors say the relationship is a valuable experience. Mentoring promotes learning from seeing and doing, effectively building inspirational leaders and encouraging their direct reports to aspire to be like them.


Bottom line

Build an inspirational leadership culture via mentoring for free today

Is your organization invested in building its future leaders? Is there a regular development and promotion of leaders within? 

Together can help you scale your existing mentorship program into a formal, hugely successful program.

Together’s software is easy to use and allows for quick implementation by relying on customizable templates designed to work for every workplace. All of the data and information you or your employees provide is also highly secured for peace of mind.

We also provide support to ensure that you not only tailor the mentorship to your workplace but that it inevitably emerges as a successful endeavor. We know the mentorship process through and through and know all the right tweaks to ensure that you reach your desired outcome.

Schedule a demo with our team to find out more about how Together can help you craft a successful mentorship culture.

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