In our society, leadership is often perceived as a personality trait: Either you have it or you don’t. People are “born leaders” or they’re not.
That’s only partly right. Leadership development professionals say personality does play a role—but that’s one factor, along with opportunities to use leadership skills and the kind of leadership education the person has had. You can acquire those second two things (and indeed, that’s one message 8 Figure Firm is trying to preach). But is personality immutable? If you don’t have the personality of a leader, is your effort doomed?
We don’t believe that. While some people may naturally score high on leadership traits, such as extraversion or creativity, many are also skills you can learn to develop.
Developing Your Leadership Qualities
One of the most frequently cited leadership qualities is self-control or self-regulation, and for good reason. When you’re managing any kind of enterprise, you’re going to occasionally feel anger or other feelings that aren’t convenient at work. A good leader should be able to put it aside long enough to get the job done—and to retain the respect of his or her people. Fortunately, research has consistently shown that self-control is like a muscle, in that it is strengthened with proper use.
Then there’s confidence. Confidence is what makes a leader credible to begin with, and maintaining that confidence, even in the face of setbacks, has an enormous impact on the team’s morale. Confidence contributes to success in both dating and the workplace. So it’s worth developing, and the good news is that you can do a lot for yourself by merely pretending you already feel
confident—faking it ’til you make it. When you start succeeding, you’ll have some evidence to back up your swagger.
Commitment—to your team, to your goals, to your firm—is another absolutely vital leadership quality. When you care about your mission, people will notice, and they’ll respond with their own loyalty to the mission. If you run your own firm, you’re probably already firmly committed to the organization, so this may be easy for you. But consider whether you’re showing it, and consider whether your commitment to other aspects of the job—such as your people—is currently clear.
Speaking of your people, people skills are another vital leadership skill. People skills can actually be thought of as a group of skills, including social skills, empathy, and self-control. Some people naturally have these skills; they make friends easily and have reputations for being pleasant. Other people may have to conquer their introversion or change some habits. Psychologists say developing this skill is all about changing how you respond to your own emotions, so the power is yours.
Finally, accountability is an important leadership quality. It’s why President Truman had a sign on his desk saying “The buck stops here,” and it’s why people say that a poor workman blames his tools. People admire those who have the courage to accept responsibility for their own decisions; they may feel especially loyal to a leader who takes a fall for the team.
Grow your leadership. It is the only way to guarantee that your business will be better tomorrow than it is today.
To Your Continued Success,
Luis Raul Scott, Jr.