Master these Characteristics of a Leader and Become Unstoppable
Key Traits of Great Leaders
Were you in business in 2008? Did your business survive the worst of the Covid-19 economy?
Not all businesses survive, especially when a major world event happens, like a global recession or pandemic. If you are still in business today, congratulations. The global financial, cultural and health crises you weathered probably changed how you do business. Think of what you learned and how those lessons have shaped who you are and how your business operates today.
Over the past 40 years, I’ve worked with thousands of business owners, and the top thing I learned is that successful business owners have one common thread – their use of psychology as a leader. It’s what gets leaders through the challenging times and economic winters.
Master Your Own Psychology
The greatest chokehold on the growth of any business is always its leader. With a strong, decisive leader, a business can flourish despite outside pressures.
“My belief is that 20% of leadership is skill. The other 80% is psychology.”
To be an effective leader, you have to put in the work to master your own psychology. The right attitude will get you through even the most difficult challenges. If you can’t convince yourself that your business will succeed, how can you lead your team to the same feeling?
The truth is that leaders aren’t born; they’re made. Part of what makes a leader great is being able to master your own psychology and form an understanding of the essentials for success – vision, values and communication. Pushing yourself outside your box and allowing yourself to fail are vital to mastering your psychology. Being willing to step outside your box, allowing yourself to fail and learning from your mistakes and successes are vital aspects of building the psychology of a successful leader.
Once you’ve mastered your own psychology, you can start building the psychology you’ll need to embrace to become a successful leader. The first step toward this goal is to understand that all great leaders’ have certain characteristics and then learn how to cultivate them in your own personality. Being willing to step out of your box, allowing yourself to fail, and learning from your mistakes and successes will help you develop those characteristics.
Characteristics of a Leader
To become a strong leader, you must model the characteristics of a great leader. A great leader sees something more clearly than everyone else and then takes that to a higher level and standard.
When it comes down to it, there are three characteristics of a leader that are most important to a business’s success: influence, vision and certainty; flexibility and emotional fitness. Master these characteristics and you’ll become an unstoppable leader.
Influence of a Leader
A great leader is influential – someone who inspires people to think, feel and set aside their interests to create a greater good.
To learn how to influence others, you must first be able to influence yourself. You must develop the ability to inspire yourself to take direction and make the right decisions for the entire team’s sake. You have to be able to influence your team to serve and act on behalf of the greater good.
Vision and Certainty
A great leader also projects certainty, even during times of crisis. When all hell breaks loose, the ability to re-center and help themselves and others find solutions to their problems comes down to their ability to direct and manage emotions.
In times of uncertainty, people gravitate toward and seek guidance from those with an internal sense of certainty. One of the most essential characteristics of a great leader is generating an inner certainty that employees or families can rally around to find the answer and move forward.
Flexibility and Emotional Fitness
The leader brings an emotional fitness, a psychological strength, a state of readiness – to potentially volatile situations. True leaders always remain committed to their outcome or vision but understand that they must be flexible in their approach to achieve the desired results.
Often, we know what to do, but we aren’t in a state of readiness to make it happen. Channeling emotions like humor, playfulness, curiosity, compassion and creativity in the middle of stressful environments gives any leader the emotional flexibility to refocus their team amidst challenges. Those who do this consistently develop a reputation or a leadership brand.
Building your emotional fitness is similar to building up your physical fitness – it takes practice and training. If you haven’t worked out in years, you wouldn’t expect to be able to lift a 100-pound weight on your first attempt without any struggle. The same is true for your emotional leadership muscle. You have to continually work on learning effective leadership behaviors and adopting a mindset of improvement.
So, the question is, how well do you adapt when all hell breaks loose? How would you rate your capacity to bring certainty, creativity, humor, vision and direction to bear in times of uncertainty? Where would you rate your emotional fitness as a leader on a scale of zero to ten? And how effective are you at influencing the emotions of others?
Leadership in Action
You can see proof of leadership in action in the report written by Harvard Business Review’s content team that reveals the psychology used by some of the greatest business leaders – from Marc Benioff, who came up with his idea for Salesforce and used Tony’s planning system (RPM) to organize its initial stages, to Tom Bilyeu, who grew a protein bar company to $1 billion in revenue even during a period of intense competition.
All the leaders featured in this report have a unique vision, a high level of certainty and emotional flexibility. They all understand that one of the secrets to leadership is mastering their own psychology.
Leadership in Times of Crisis
In times of crisis, these are the most crucial characteristics of a great leader. A vision that captures people’s hearts, minds and energies can compel them to act and project a better future.
One of the greatest leadership characteristics to possess is an influence that inspires. When a leader can inspire others to have conviction in themselves by demonstrating conviction in their own actions, it brings certainty to uncertain environments.
Emotional flexibility is a crucial tool for a leader to leverage here. It helps them understand their own emotional patterns and those of others while knowing they may have to break certain patterns to achieve a desired outcome.
It’s important to remember that a crisis is not always bad. Crisis brews innovation and revolution when they inspire people to create, not recoil. Crisis forces us to be more efficient and effective to survive.
True and effective leaders thrive in times of crisis because they know that positive effects can result from negative situations. This characteristic of a great leader helps them leverage their inner mental strength to create, build and reinforce their businesses so they are poised to thrive, not just survive, in the new economy.