Not everyone was born to be a good leader. It takes a certain type of individual to move a team forward effectively. Here are a few tips of some things that I have come across in my experiences with mentors, colleagues, and people that make good leaders.
There are plenty more traits and things that could be added to the list but we didn't want to make a list that goes on forever. These are a good starting point for anyone looking to improve how they lead, manage, and go about life in general.
Let's get started with my list of those 10 leadership traits:
- Make Mistakes - You cannot be afraid of them. Failure is the foundation from which successes are born. Study what you did when you made it, circumstances surrounding it, and learn from their incantations.
- No Excuses - Blame is weakness. Blaming, complaining, explaining - all are draining to positive energy. We don't have enough inner plumbing to handing all that draining so don't do it!
- Find the Smartest Person in the Room - Listen, learn, love. Someone will always be smarter in some way, even if you are the CEO or top dog. Recognize that and find a way to be around that person (or those people if you are lucky enough to have many).
- Write Down Five Ideas Every Day - Try this for six months straight. See what happens. You will be amazed at what you start to come up with and how this builds upon itself.
- Make a List - I refer to Warren Buffet's 5/25 rule here. Make a list of top 25 things you want to do in life. Now do the top five and forget about the other 20 otherwise they will take time away from the five that are most important to you. (Note: this "list" will change over time so do it every five years or so).
- Say No - Most leaders, especially when they are young, want to please everyone and that means you become afraid to say no. You want to help, you want to solve problems. Saying no sometimes allows you to have to time learn, read, sleep, have fun, ask questions, and get more out of life. You have to come first sometimes in order to be a balanced leader.
- Right Now - What is past is past, what will happen is not always controllable. Regret wastes time for today. Anxiety will steal energy from what you plan to do tomorrow. Focus on the now and give it your best shot.
- Ask Questions - Not obnoxious questions. Not just for the sake of asking. Opportunities are found when you look at all the angles and ask intelligent questions. There are always more questions than answers and answers can come from many, MANY different sources.
- Follow Up - This is hard. Most people are lazy about this. Send an email the next day with an idea or more thoughts on next steps. Getting good at this and driving things to completion is very important.
WAIT - That's only nine, weren't there 10?
That is exactly my point. Things change. Adapt and Adjust. Also allow yourself permission to be WRONG. No one in life is perfect. You cannot try to be and being flexible and able to change as certain things change is probably the strongest trait to develop in order to be the leader you want to and can become.
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