Top leadership secrets
Learn the secrets to leadership success from Tony Robbins himself
Who are your favorite leaders? Of course all-time greats like Oprah, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson and more come to mind. Yet we also encounter great leaders in our everyday lives: Our children’s coaches and teachers. Our own mentors or the peers who we look up to. The volunteer who runs your local food pantry. Maybe your own boss – and maybe even yourself.
Whether they are billionaires or members of your PTA, these people seem to know leadership secrets that others don’t. And after working with hundreds of the best minds in business and sports, I can tell you what they are.
Leadership secret number one: pure energy
The first quality we’ll look at is PURE ENERGY.
Whenever you think of someone who has charisma or impact, isn’t it true that they also have a significant amount of psychological, emotional or physical energy? Virtually everyone knows someone who brings energy to any environment they live in. People gravitate toward them. Being able to tap into positive energy even when you are exhausted, even when things aren’t going your way, is the leadership secret that separates those who achieve and lead at the highest level versus those who fall short.
Energetic leaders can make the tough decisions and take the necessary action to turn things around in spite of the challenge. They can talk about the real issues, get everyone to face the challenges and have enough energy to find the solutions necessary, even in the most dire of circumstances.
How to increase your energy
This leadership secret involves certain fundamental habits that can increase your energy regardless of how much sleep you’ve had or where your blood sugar is. I’m not talking about some naive approach to life where you delude yourself through positive thinking that everything will be just fine. I’m not talking about BS’ing yourself. I’m talking about ways to take action to shift your energy.
One way is to physically take care of yourself: to train your body so that you have that expanded sense of energy and endurance. But you can also find energy by tapping into a vision, which brings energy not only to yourself but to your team as well – and is one of the most powerful leadership secrets. Steve Jobs was famous for his undivided focus to create the greatest products in the world. Similarly, the standard that Steve Wynn holds for himself and his team creates an unstoppable energetic momentum. You must model successful people to become successful.
Leadership secret two: emotional mastery
The second core quality extraordinary leaders share is EMOTIONAL MASTERY.
Extraordinary and effective leaders bring certainty into uncertain environments. Whether it be in sports, business or even a parent, in times of uncertainty people are drawn to those who manage their emotions with level-headed certainty. This leadership secret isn’t just about emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a set of skills, or you can think of it as a set of capacities. What I really focus on is emotional fitness – psychological strength.
Having the emotional certainty to use humor, playfulness, curiosity, compassion and creativity in the middle of stressful environments gives you flexibility and strength that can allow you to tackle any challenge with your team. Those who do this consistently develop a reputation or a leadership brand. People look to them for support, vision, insight and guidance.
How to improve emotional mastery
There’s a great book called Positive Intelligence by a friend of mine, Shirzad Chamine. In it, he shows that we all have “Saboteurs” inside ourselves that are overly judgmental, fearful, controlling, hyper-vigilant and so on. We also have parts inside ourselves that are also bold, creative, curious and determined. He calls these parts of our personality “the Sage.”
Training yourself so that you are emotionally fit, so you can tap into the power of the Sage in you – and learning to ignore your Saboteurs – will enable you to make a valuable contribution. Learning to change this in a matter of seconds is an extraordinarily valuable leadership secret. You can do this by identifying and overcoming your limiting beliefs, as well as changing negative self-talk into empowering thoughts and learning to assign a different meaning to your experiences.
Leadership secret three: life mastery
Life mastery is made up of two core qualities extraordinary leaders possess: RELATIONSHIP MASTERY and TIME MASTERY.
How many times have you heard, “business is relationships?” It’s one of those clichés that never escapes us. But one reason we hear clichés, again and again, is because they are true. Our capacity to connect on a very deep and personal level is the leadership secret that allows us to inspire others, as well as lead fulfilling lives. Ultimately the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.
Relationships are built not just by practicing rapport skills, but by truly understanding and appreciating where people are coming from – wanting to step in their shoes, understanding their point of view and finding a way to help them meet their needs while they meet the needs of the team and the organization.
I don’t have to tell you, in the 24/7 LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram mobile world that we live in today that the mastery of time – learning how to extract greater results from the same hours or minutes – is one of the most important leadership secrets. Truly effective leaders don’t mistake movement for achievement. Every leader I know learns how to cut through the clutter of to-dos to focus on how to get the results that are necessary more rapidly, more efficiently and more effectively.
For most people today, we’re not hurting for information. We’re drowning in information, but we’re starving for wisdom. We have more time management tools than ever before, but very often the tools themselves can become a time thief. This leadership secret means constantly refining your capacity to understand what’s most important and when to get it done to produce the greatest impact.
Leadership secret four: growth
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Growth is one of our deepest human needs and is especially essential for leaders. Yet even leaders experience chokeholds. Even leaders need to consistently turn obstacles into opportunities. The two most common leadership secrets to growth are OWNERSHIP OF PURPOSE and FINANCIAL MASTERY.
Ownership of purpose
Great leaders are purpose-driven. They know not only what to do, but why they are doing it and they are able to help other people tap into the power of WHY as well. The more you can share with people the driving purpose behind an outcome or activity, the more you can ignite your team to higher performance and make your leadership experience not only more effective, but also fulfilling.
How do you describe what you do for a living? Do you call it work? Your career? Or, is it your mission? If it’s work, then it tends to take more than it gives you. If it’s career, then it’s something you probably look forward to and invest more energy in, and as a result you make progress. But if it’s your mission, it is a source of psychological and spiritual “juice.” It’s something that when you are doing it, time disappears. This is the power of purpose.
Effective business leaders need a certain level of financial mastery. You don’t have to be the CFO to lead an organization, but the more you understand about the real cost of time, resources and people, then the more powerful the decisions you’ll make. You want to build a profitable business, and therefore you must have the capacity to grow and sustain your positive influence on the organization you lead.
Remember, the growth chokehold of any business is most powerfully affected by the psychology of the leader. Financial skills are one of the most important leadership secrets, even for those who have extraordinary skills in every other area. Do you understand enough to lead the CFO of your organization? If not, this is an area or a set of skills that would be useful for you to master.
Leadership secret five: praise and appreciation
The final leadership secret is about how you treat your team: CELEBRATING VICTORY.
Leaders are not just made, they are discovered and rewarded for progress. They are honored so consistently that their hunger to become better is never-ending – and because of this they ultimately start achieving results that few could ever expect.
Great leaders are also constantly finding ways to honor their key people and celebrate their success. They understand that there’s only one thing that makes people happy long-term, and that’s progress. Progress equals happiness.
How to celebrate success
Do you tend to exclusively focus on what people fail to achieve? Or do you capture their victories and honor them publicly? Great leaders know to correct in private and praise in public. Waiting to praise until the ultimate outcome is achieved is a significant mistake made by many good leaders who have not yet tapped into the power of these leadership secrets.
Great leaders find the way to appreciate progress in themselves and progress in others. This is also the antidote to the sense of overwhelm that so many people feel when the task is so large. You must be on a constant and never-ending search for the good that people are accomplishing. Take action today to start acknowledging more progress to deepen your leadership capacity and keep your employees happy.
These leadership secrets are not a complete and perfect list, but rather designed to show you the common qualities of successful leaders that I’ve worked with over the years. How many of these qualities do your favorite leaders embody? How can you strengthen these qualities within yourself to enhance your ability to lead?