When you hear the word “leader,” what pops into your head? Ask someone in the US and you’re likely to hear such names such as Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt and Obama. But leaders come in many shapes and forms. Naturally, we associate leaders with presidents, but you also have leaders of industry such as Gates, Jobs, Besos and Zuckerberg. A leader is simply someone who leads; sometimes they lead a country, other times the lead a team. Some leaders have leadership thrust upon them; others seek it out. Regardless of whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, simply run your own restaurant or a parent developing leadership skills is critical especially in today’s world of interconnectivity.
Last week, I talked about passion being the one thing I look for above anything else in hiring people. Passion is something you can’t fake. It comes across in their language and more obviously, in their actions. The same is true about leaders. Listen to the greatest speeches and you won’t just hear it, you’ll feel it. A great leader doesn’t just need to inspire people. A great leader must mobilize their team to action.
If you spent any time with me, or read any of my articles, you might know I’m passionate about two things – my family and my work. Talk to any great leader and it won’t take long for you to understand what they are passionate about.
A great leader never rests on their laurels, rather constantly pushing themselves to be better. If you ever have the chance to attend one of Tony Robbins’ 5-day events, you’ll find it’s attended by a variety of people. You have those people looking to change their lives and others who are looking to take their success to a whole new level. Some recent attendees to his events have been Joe Polish (one of the top marketers), Kimanzi Constable (a mentor of mine) and bestselling author Michael Hyatt. Why are such millionaires in the audience? Because they believe in constantly improving themselves, something I strongly believe in myself. No matter how much I learn, I know I can always learn more.
As my wife once said, “In order to master anything you must be humble.” Humility says you don’t know everything. Parents and teachers often struggle teaching kids in their teens because teenagers believe they have all the answers and therefore don’t need to listen to others. Sadly, some people are like that their whole lives.
Great leaders understand that they are just one person, and success in life is a team game. As such, negotiation plays a critical part in pulling in other sources for battle. You must know not only the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent in order to foster win-win deals that has everyone buying into the plan. Those that rule with an iron fist, run the risk of putting a target on their back.
Great leaders have incredible courage and are willing to go against the grain because they are so passionate about what they believe in. They inevitably rub some people the wrong way and ruffle some feathers along the way but have the courage to persist to see things through to their completion.
Reading the Air
This is something I learned after living in Japan for a few years. The Japanese have an expression “Kuu Ki Yomenai.” It roughly translates into someone who is unable to read the air. What does that mean? It’s the ability to understand the atmosphere. Women have an advantage over men here. They have a sort-of built in radar for understanding the vibe. Men are more blunt force objects, often oblivious to what is going on around them. Great leaders know when to push and when to hold back. They are willing to make sacrifices if the situation calls for it like a Chess Grandmaster willing to give up their queen in order to solidify the win.
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