Magnets fascinate me. Put a magnet on a table surrounded by metal objects and the objects will quickly move toward it. Put one on the end of metal rod and insert it into a motor housing or a building project and a lost bolt, nut, or screw will grasp for it like it was a lifesaver.

Effective leaders are like magnets, put them into a leadership environment and people or groups will gravitate toward them. In fact magnetism is one of the key qualities of a leader.

Magnetic leaders make their presence felt in any situation. Most will seek their voice while others seek their nod of approval. They seem to have it together.

How would we describe these “magnetic” qualities?

1. Magnetic leaders walk into the room with a determined gait. They don’t slouch. Their   physical stature suggests alertness and poise.

2. Magnetic leaders look for that first set of eyes with which they can connect. They understand that communication takes focus—on people, one person at a time.

3. Magnetic leaders bring the sunshine with them. They lighten the room with a positive energy and friendliness that often contrasts the attitude of others.

4. Magnetic leaders speak with confidence and encouragement. Need a good word? They have one in mind, and are quick to share it. Need an idea spark? They’ve been thinking about one, and would gladly give you their opinion.

In a word, they’re magnetic. But they know that magnetism is one part inherited and two parts developed. They live in an atmosphere that is, to some extent, of their own creation. They have learned that by carrying a gray cloud on a string everywhere they go, the people they encounter will naturally be disheartened. But by letting the sun shine through their demeanor, they can cast a confident aura.

Magnetic leaders know they can move people with the power of their presence. They know that when they speak enthusiastically of the future, people will have hope. When they talk of the possibility of success, people will have confidence. When they underscore the positive qualities of an idea, people are motivated.

Magnetic leaders probably wouldn’t be on a TV news station’s “Storm Team.” To them, the weather is always sunny!

–Stan Toler