What makes successful leaders?

  • What does a leader look like who radiates sufficient wisdom, conveys security and is willingly followed?
  • Did you know that personalities receive significantly higher fees than trainers, experts and advisors?
  • Why do personalities rest so much in themselves?


The answers to the above three questions can take you to a higher level which I will explain below.

If we first look in a dictionary, we come across these explanations:

1. the totality of the personal (characteristic, individual)
characteristics of a person
2. a person with a distinct individual character
3. someone who plays a leading role in social life.

Wikipedia says: The term "personality" refers to the individuality of each person and usually describes an experienced, mature person with distinct character traits.
From this we can recognize something interesting.
It is more about qualities than about doing and ability! This also corresponds to the result reported by Zig Ziglar. In a workshop, he asked what makes a good leader. A total of 107 criteria were compiled. He then had these criteria broken down into characteristics and professional skills. The result surprised everyone, because it was very stark. Only 5 criteria related to professional skills (being able to do things). 102!!! criteria were characteristics that every person can live. For criteria such as honesty, openness, commitment, diligence, listening, integrity, etc., no special professional training is required.
Benjamin Franklin knew this and considered 13 character traits to be important for his being. He then consciously adopted and lived these 13 little by little. He did this by taking on one characteristic at a time for a certain period of time until he had absorbed it and lived it unconsciously. He did this with all 13 in succession. It is well known that Benjamin Franklin was a respected man even many generations later.
Let's return to the three initial topics.
Did you know that there is a structure in German-speaking countries that determines the fees you normally receive as a trainer, consultant and speaker?

Well, there are always exceptions to the rule, but the majority of trainers, coaches and experts' fees range from under € 1,000 to € 3,500 and only a few manage to break through € 5,000.


Self-employment therefore really means always and constantly exchanging time for money in order to achieve an acceptable annual income.

Then there is the category of advisors. They don't train so much as give advice, they have knowledge and experience that they pass on. It's more about supporting self-empowerment. Their fees range from € 5,000 to € 10,000 or even higher. Advisors can come from different professions. They have usually achieved above-average results themselves. Not just read. Trainers and advisors also earn different fees as speakers.


And now to personality. When someone is booked because of their personality, it's not about "training". It's not just about knowledge and experience, but about something much more: BEING! Even in Germany, fees are often € 25,000 and higher. Barak Obama today receives up to one million US dollars for an appearance. Of course he has become known as president, but it is his personality that is paid so highly. After all, the audience doesn't want to learn how to become president, they want to experience him in order to learn from his personality.

To make the importance of personality even more visible, I like to show the 5 stages of leadership by John Maxwell.

What follows is important, increasingly important for current managers and those who want to become one.


At the lowest level, people follow because they have to. The general, the boss, is in command.
At the next level, it is the relationship with the people or subordinates. They follow because they want to.
At the third level, it is due to successes achieved for the organization. People follow because of results achieved and therefore trust. Gratitude can also play a role here.
At the fourth level, it becomes even more personal. People follow because the leader has done something for them personally. Here it can be enthusiasm, loyalty but also gratitude.

And at the fifth and highest level, we are back to personality:

People follow because the personality is what it is.

They follow because the person represents something that they themselves also aspire to or consider good, or they follow in times of uncertainty because they trust deeply.

And here you can clearly see what personality is all about, and that if you want to be a top leader, you should develop into a fifth-level personality.


This can take years. It took me decades to go through the 5 stages from opening my law firm (being the boss at the lowest level) to the top level. I had no mentor and went the hard way. It can be quicker and easier for you!

My main field of activity is not only to accompany clients on their way to the top, but also to support them in making their personal transformation as quickly as possible. You can't skip a level, but you don't have to stay on one for long. With the right guidance, it goes much faster, similar to elite sport.

If you are interested in making it easier for people to follow you, if you want to achieve higher fees or company sales/profits and feel even more inner peace in the process, then please contact me for individual personal coaching for a faster leap to the top:
ws@wolfgangsonnenburg.com or talk to Julia Bauer, HeadCoach & Member of the Executive Board at Winspiration, about other ways in which you can effectively and efficiently shape your life and business for the future: julia.bauer@winspiration.global


Now let's take another look at the topics mentioned at the beginning:
  • What does a leader look like who radiates sufficient wisdom, conveys security and is willingly followed?
  • Did you know that personalities receive significantly higher fees than trainers, experts and advisors?
  • Why do personalities rest so much in themselves?


It is now clear who people follow more easily. And this becomes particularly clear in times of upheaval, because even managers do not have a crystal ball to predict everything, and it is precisely then that those who are deeply trusted are followed.

The personality that is at peace with itself, that lives authentically, simply lives from within, out of peace. Similar to a tornado, there is deep calm inside the eye and great effectiveness on the outside. This is what characterizes personalities. Inner clarity dissolves ambiguity and unambiguity is lived.
And if you want higher daily rates or annual profits, then invest in your effective personality development (not just superficial belief changes), but a transformation to a new BEING. Even in sport, people talk about player personalities who then also achieve higher advertising revenues.

Isn't it true that you still feel you have a lot of room for improvement? So choose a quality that really takes you forwardand integrate it into your subconscious. The point is not that you can do it, but that you are.
Previous post
Where do we stand in our society? (Spiral Dynamics Principle)
Next post
Clarity, freedom, effectiveness - from self-knowledge to unlimited possibilities