7 Leadership Traits That Will Make You More Relatable And Successful

Leadership traits

Many people think that being relatable is one of those leadership traits that people are born with. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being relatable is something that can be learned and cultivated with enough practice and conscious effort.

Being relatable with your peers at work is important because when you are relatable you are forging connections with other people and creating positive interactions. A relatable entrepreneur can win over powerful investors, a relatable CEO can inspire employees to do their best work, and a relatable salesperson can form deeper connections with potential clients. Being relatable is something that all sorts of people are naturally drawn to, trying to integrate the following habits into your daily practice will help to make you more relatable and easier to get along with.

With that being said, here are 7 leadership traits to help you become a more relatable leader!

1. Maintain Contact

If you attend a conference or networking session make an effort to stay connected with the people you meet. By keeping the conversation going you can grow and maintain valuable relationships that may help you in the long term. Nowadays social media platforms like Instagram and Linkedin are great for keeping up with people, but we recommend a more personal form of contact.

This can be done by sending them an email once a week, sending them a text once a month, or giving them a call every couple of months.

It’s amazing how just checking up on someone periodically can lead to collaboration in the future. Taking the initiative to maintain contact with friends takes a lot of courage, which is why it tops our list of top 7 leadership traits.

2. Put people at ease

An approachable leader makes people feel comfortable and at ease. People at ease can work together, connect, and communicate without fear of retribution. A large key to helping put people at ease centers around being yourself. Make a conscious effort to be authentic with the people around you. Only 72% of people show their true self at work, and it usually takes two to three months for them to get that way. You’ll be more relatable to them if you show them who you really are rather than the act you put on, plus you’ll enjoy your job more. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to share your interests or reveal your personality and sense of humour.

In addition to having an authentic demeanour, it is also important to make sure that your workers have all the resources that they need to get their job done. Giving people the tools that they need to get their job done is key to putting them at ease. That’s why this is one of the most important leadership traits.

3. Listen intensively

Good leaders, specifically those who have the soft skill of being relatable, listen more than they speak. As a leader, you don’t always have to fix things. Listening attentively is a key element of letting others speak and come up with solutions. Edward van Luinen, founder and accelerator at Global Talent Builders, says that when he meets with a client — whether he’s known that person for years or is meeting him or her for the first time — he works to quickly assess what that client needs at the moment in order for them to feel better accepted and appreciated. Listening is one of the easiest leadership traits to develop. All you have to do is close your mouth and think about what the other person is saying.

4. Stay curious

Part of being relatable requires you to stay open and ask lots of questions. Stay curious and interested – there is always room to learn something new. We are all human, no one functions like Google and can answer any question that comes their way. It is important to be able to continue to ask questions and be humble to admit when you don’t know the answer.

5. Be a sounding board

Part of being a leader includes people coming to you with good and bad news. In these situations, it is important to show compassion and empathy; let people know they can always come to you. By understanding and providing employees with what they need to succeed, leaders can build a sense of trust, thereby strengthening the relationships they have with their employees and consequently, the relationships employees have with one another.

6. Earn their total trust

Approachable leaders possess a lot of information and are transparent, they do not advocate keeping secrets. When you freely share personal and business information, you allow people to get to know you so they can understand you. This includes mistakes. If you mess up, fess up and tell the team rather than trying to hide it from them. Be intelligent and ethical in your use of information but in order to be relatable you need to give your people a reason to trust you.

7. The Progression of Values

John Maxwell, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, writes about leadership and describes the key to being relatable as a progression of values. Maxwell discusses that there are three main steps in being relatable and they are all centered around values and how you discuss these values with those around you.

The Progression of Values

Share your values

Knowing what ideals you live by, be it faith, family or integrity, show others how you see the world. “When you know what you stand for, what you believe, and how you see the world, you’re in the best position to live authentically with your people because you know who you are,” Maxwell writes. This goes hand and hand with what we have talked about in regard to being your authentic self. When you know who you are and what you stand for and articulate that people can relate to you and it forms a sense of relatability.

See the value in others

“Every person you encounter has intrinsic value, which means they should be appreciated for who they are,” writes Maxwell. Even if you find it difficult, it’s important to apply this belief to everyone you work with. If you appreciate people and their impact on your life, you’ll discover that they relate to you a lot better. Granted, some people are a little harder to appreciate than others, the responsibility of a leader is to dig deep and see more than others do. Leaders should be treating their people as 10s because that kind of belief creates an atmosphere for growth. If you’ll appreciate people and their impact on your life, you’ll discover that they relate to you a lot better.

Add value to others

Rather than acting like it is a chore to be helping someone, a relatable leader goes out of their way to be kind and encouraging to their colleagues; by showing  them you care you can add value to others. “When people can see that you genuinely like people, they will believe that you might genuinely like them, too,” explains Maxwell. Leaders can do this by inviting other people into a relationship and regularly serving others, offering a quick check-in on how they are doing and acting interested in what they have to say.

Being relatable does not mean that you must be everyone’s best friend, but instead means being yourself; living an authentic, consistent life with the people you lead. If you want better relationships, you must learn the habits to be relatable.

Recommended Resources:

Uncover your strengths and weaknesses with our complimentary assessment. Boost your effectiveness at work and with your team.

Free Resource Library: Access our extensive collection of valuable resources for instant support in your personal and professional growth.

Explore Our Course Library:

Enhance your leadership skills with our diverse selection of courses. Take your abilities to the next level and become a more effective leader and team player.


Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.


Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.


Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.