12 Most “In Words” to be in Leadership

12 Most “In Words” to  be in Leadership

I am an avid reader who loves a good adjective. I especially enjoy applying strong and positive adjectives to strong and positive leaders. Here are 12 of my favorite “In Words”. I also have a list at the end of the 12 that barely missed the cut. Some of these near misses may show up in your top 12, but I went with a few unconventional ones in my list to drive some interesting discussion!

Time to meet my “in crowd”…

1. Incandescent

Dictionary.com defines incandescent as intensely bright; brilliant; masterly; extraordinarily lucid. Could you think of better qualities in a strong leader? We can all hope to be brilliant and masterly as we lead our organizations.

2. Indefatigable

In an intensely competitive business landscape, we need to be untiring. As the days get longer, and the stresses mount, a strong leader cannot take the easy way out and yield to fatigue.

3. Inestimable

Dictionary.com defines inestimable as being of incalculable value; valuable beyond measure; priceless. A strong leader overcomes organizational shortcomings and is truly priceless for a successful team.

4. Inexorable

Inexorable can have a harsh definition that includes unbending; severe, merciless, cruel and pitiless. Those are generally qualities you do NOT want in a leader. However, it makes my list because it also means relentless. The great leaders are the ones who can push through failures in a relentless pursuit for organizational success. I also favor unbending leadership as it relates to upholding an absolute standard of integrity.

5. Instinctive

Wouldn’t it be great if everything went according to plan every time? How about if the numbers always added up to what you needed, or the flowchart and decision matrix accommodated every scenario you would ever encounter? That world doesn’t exist, my friends! The instinctive leaders, who anticipate versus react to circumstances, are in a class by themselves.

6. Infallible

Some may view infallible as “without failures”. I like Dictionary.com’s definition of absolutely trustworthy or sure. Failures are sure to come our way. Can we handle failures and controversy and remain trustworthy? We need leaders who can remind us of what it means to honor our trust.

7. Infinite

Man becoming infinite…is an impossibility. However, natural leaders strive to be immeasurably great and boundless. Level 5 leaders do not seek these goals for personal gain; instead, they view their organizations with the belief that the organizations can achieve boundless success.

8. Indominatable

One of the 5 Tenets of Taekwondo is Indomitable Spirit. It is a willingness to accept and acknowledge failure followed by a stronger desire to get back up and try again. It is accepting defeat without being beaten by it or accepting it as a final outcome. Strong leaders develop both a healthy chip on their shoulders and an attitude that they WILL succeed eventually.

9. Inquisitive

If we stop learning, then we become both complacent and stagnant. Strong leaders cultivate their intellectual curiosity, and they thirst for knowledge and new ideas.

10. Ingenious

An inquisitive nature coupled with a heavy dose of ingenuity drives innovation! Leaders are resourceful and encourage independent thought and inventiveness within their organizations.

11. Inimitable

To be inimitable is to be incapable of being imitated or copied; matchless. Charismatic leaders are often matchless, and they can successfully guide companies to new heights. However, Level 5 leaders achieve the same goals while establishing foundational principles to ensure continued company success after their time in leadership. Work on being matchless in humility and principles and making your organization’s success matchless. A true measure of personal success is if the company can flourish once you are gone.

12. Inspirational

Do you meet success wherever you go? Great! Do you have an indomitable spirit and refuse to accept defeat as the final outcome? Excellent!! Do you inspire others to become more than what they are currently? Do you encourage them to reach higher, achieve more, and take on more autonomy and responsibility? Do you work with them to become part of the “In-crowd”? Be Inspirational, my friends!

Here are some good ones that did not make my top 12: informative, influential, insatiable, involved, and independent

BONUS: Here are some “in-words” to NOT BE in Leadership: inadequate, inactive, inadvertent, inappropriate, inarticulate, inflexible, insolent, and insufferable!

What “in words” would you like someone to use to describe your leadership qualities? Which words do you hope to avoid getting associated with your name?!?

Image by Alex E. Proimos licensed via Creative Commons

Brian Vickery


I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am very excited about our Pulse Analytics SaaS social media monitoring solution for measuring consumer sentiment and supporting social engagement. I enjoy teaching and coaching. I graduated UT-Austin.

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Leader's has always spoken for the best and beautiful word's. You had share a fact and indeed information with us. Thank's a lot.

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Amazing post, Brian! Indefatigable, I love it! Nice word and also captures the relentless persistence all leaders must have to be successful!


IN-teresting list. While I don't object to any of the adjectives you've chosen (all are certainly qualities of leaders) it does highlight a trend of defining leadership over "being a leader" these days. I guess that's a byproduct of Social Media's mass content creation. I see more posts about what a leader is vs. highlighting great acts peformed by leaders.


@Ayla85 Glad you enjoyed it. And I tend to favor Indomitable Spirit and Inspirational, but I loved the whole list when writing it.



Nice perspective, Sam. Interesting because I am generally defined as a doer -> thus I spend more time attempting to be a leader versus write about it. I strongly agree that no amount of reading great leadership books and posts, or putting cool Successories plaques on the wall, will turn folks into leaders. It takes DO-ing.

I am a strong proponent of finding that next generation of leaders in our companies and schools, though. It is tough to find people with the rare combination of "It factor" and humility/compassion. Regarding highlighting great acts, that is why I enjoyed Good to Great so much. Because it also made the distinction between charismatic leaders that may perform great acts -> and Level 5 leaders that enable a company to perform great acts as an extension of their own principles.


@samfiorella That is a good point Sam. Leaders have more than just a good idea, they act on them as well. I will be giving your comment some thinking. It may inspire a future post down the line.