What makes a great leader? There is a big misconception of what it takes to be an effective leader.
Here we break it all down so that you can be the guy that everyone turns to when they need direction, answers, and help. Ultimately, the goal is to make you a leader.
There’s a great quote that says “leader’s aren’t made, they are born.” Unfortunately, I am going to disagree with this statement. The truth is, if you are given the right guidance and put in a position where you can be a leader, you will become one.
There are a set of leadership traits that set one man apart from everyone else.
What It Takes To Be A Leader
In order to be respected and lead, you have to have wisdom and knowledge. You have to have a track record of success.
Often times people think that a “Title” makes them a leader. But that’s rarely the case. Sure, in the beginning when someone doesn’t know the person with a title, they might give them respect. But very quickly people will see through the title.
There are a lot of people in this world that walk around thinking they are better than people or the leader because of their title. But what they don’t realize is people don’t respect them because they have no clue what they are talking about.
In order for you to become a leader you need to become credible. Learn as much as you can about the field you want to be a leader in. Become an expert. Have success that is quantifiable so others can see that you know your shit.
Leaders are disciplined. They exhibit a certain type of behavior ordinary people cannot.
By being disciplined, you don’t waste time. You are focused. But discipline isn’t only about hard work. It’s about not compromising.
In the case of being an investment manager, they set up limits for losses. When a trade starts to lose too much money or an investment drops to a certain price level, they’ll cut their losses, while an ordinary investor may hold and wait.
When you are disciplined you are focused on achieving the end goal and doing what it takes to get there. You’re not focused on luck and happenstance.
Lead By Example
A leader is willing do what he tells others to do.
What a lot of people in leadership positions fail to realize is that yes you are in a position of power and can tell people what to do. But the way to earn respect and the power of influence is by gaining the trust and loyalty of others.
How do you gain trust and loyalty to be an effective leader?
A leader is willing to suck up his ego at times and get his hands dirty. He’ll go into the trenches with his people.
As a leader you can’t just be an asshole. It’s not your way or the highway. Kindness goes a long way.
Leaders understand when to push their people and when to pull back. A great leader needs to be fair and reasonable because if he is neither he’s a tyrant (cruel and oppressive).
Treat people how you want to be treated. Be understanding. And be fair about what you want out of your people. This will make you be someone people want to listen to and work for.
Leaders are willing to do things others are afraid of doing.
There are multiple examples I could give to show how a leader has courage.
- It could be Michael Jordan taking the final shot in a game.
- It could be a military leader ordering an attack.
- It could be a guy that approaches a girl that everyone else is afraid to talk to.
- It could be speaking up in a meeting and saying something everyone else is thinking.
- It could be a man asking “why” or questioning why something is being done a certain way.
Leaders have balls. They take risks.
Unconcerned of Failure
The fear of failure has prevented many men from pursuing what they really want to do.
Leaders understand that there are times when you win and times when you lose. The thing that separate a leader from an ordinary man is that he doesn’t concern himself with the failures. He moves on.
When someone fails, they usually feel terrible. They hate the feeling. They dread it. A leader may also hate failure but he moves on from it. There is no dwelling. The fear of failure does not paralyze a leader from doing what needs to be done.
Leaders know their stuff. But when they don’t know their stuff, they know who does. Leaders are resourcesful.
They may not have all the answers to everything, but they know who to contact when they need help.
A leader knows how to network and create relationships with others. He knows how to make people want to help him become successful.
Watches Out for His People
A leader knows that he is only as good as his team.
Whether it’s the strongest link or the weakest link, a leader needs everyone to succeed. He treats everyone with respect and tries to make his people successful. In turn they work to make him successful.
A leader doesn’t throw his people under the bus if they mess up. He sticks up for them. He motivates, encourages, and takes them under his wing.
Calm Under Pressure
Nothing always goes according to the way it is scripted. There will be times a leader is under pressure or chaos. The difference here is a leader is always calm. He is always rational.
A leader is able to take emotion out of the equation when the is pressure. This allows his “troops” to also remain calm. If your leader is optimistic and calm, others will follow.
Don’t overreact. Don’t make irrational decisions. Don’t get emotional. Do what a leader does. Be calm. Be smart. Be powerful.
Leaders are confident. They’re positive. They make people believe.
If you can make other people “buy in” to your ideas, then almost anything is possible. How you do that is buy selling people on your vision.
If you don’t believe it’s possible, why would anyone else? People look at a leader for direction. They look to the leader for that reassurance that whatever they are working toward is possible.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to get people excited and enthusiastic about working toward a goal. It is your job to make them believe anything is possible.
How To Be an Ineffective Leader
You could say that the opposite of the above makes you an ineffective leader. And that may be the case. But there are other characteristics of a person that also make then an ineffective leader. See below.
Essentially this means you’re an idiot.
An unenlightened leader doesn’t know much. He tries to fake his way around and keeps conversations at a very high level. He will throw out words or statements that he has heard others say.
By not knowing much you’ll be rendered a useless leader. You won’t get respect. People won’t ask you for guidance. Your people will think you’re incompetent and they don’t need you.
If you’re afraid and fearful then you’ll be an ineffective leader.
Whether you’re afraid of losing or taking risks or the consequences of making a bad decision, a leader will look weak if he is afraid.
You need to have conviction in your ideas and be confident you can achieve success in whatever it is you do. If you don’t have this type of confidence and unfearful of failure then the people you lead will start to doubt your ability to guide them.
Sometimes you have to drop the hammer. You can’t always be nice.
When your people make mistakes you can’t make them feel bad. But you also can’t let people continuously make mistakes. A leader points out or questions when things are not done correctly so corrections can be made.
One of the worst things you can do as a leader is let things slide. You’re not suppose to be everyone’s friend. You can’t let people give 50% when you’re giving 110%.
You need to hold others accountable.
Can’t Make the Tough Decisions
As a leader you need to make decisions that can influence the outcome of situations. A leader can do this when it is necessary.
An ineffective leader is afraid to make the tough decisions. Instead of taking the lead and making the call, he’ll hesitate.
When you hesitate as a leader, you give off the impression that you are uncertain. No one wants a leader that is uncertain.
Don’t turn to other people to make tough decisions for you. It is your duty as the leader to make them. If you don’t then your people will question whether or not they should do what you tell them. Don’t be a loser.
Cares More About the Individual Fame
A leader needs to be competitive but should never care about his individual success and fame more than his team’s.
If you care more about your own reputation and want to be recognized for the handwork of your team, you will lose your team really quickly.
No one wants to work for a leader that doesn’t want his team to share in the fame and success that they all worked towards.
Make sure you recognize the people that work for you. Reward hard work and success.
Leaders need to put on a good face. Even if they are upset, they can’t show any signs of weakness or frustration.
Effective leaders do not get emotional. Leaders don’t have time to be petty and upset. They are too focused on reaching the next milestone or achieving success. Instead of getting angry, get focused. Figure out what’s wrong and fix it. That’s what a leader does.
Learn to stay calm. You never want to show your cards (your emotions) and let others know they got the best of you. Once you show weakness a stronger leader will jump all over you.
Leaders are confident but they aren’t arrogant.
Yes, leader’s need to have a track record of success and be intelligent. Hopefully as a leader you are an expert in whatever field you are leading.
No matter what though you should never be cocky. Always be humble. Be confident but humble.
There is no point in being arrogant. Knowing you are the best should be good enough. Others will know by your actions and by what you say.
Be humble because the world will always find a way to humble you if you are not.
Being weak is a very vague statement. But you should never be weak mentally as a leader.
You must be strong-minded and strong-willed. You will do what is necessary to win and succeed. Others will see this and will find your energy addictive. They will want to be around you.
Be strong and people will want to work for you and listen to you.
Be A Leader
Being a leader isn’t for everyone. And being alpha doesn’t always mean you have to be “the ultimate man”. But you should always strive to have leadership traits.
Having leadership traits will help you in life. They will make you influential and a person people want to be around. You will have power and people will want to help you achieve your goals.