Some leaders are born. More leaders are made. Many, many more. Even those born with the necessary talent have to hone that talent and learn the applicable skills. Unfortunately, far too many “leadership” development processes spend much of their time on leadership style, without dealing with actual problems you will face every day. Here are three traits you must develop if you want to succeed as a leader.
First, you need to be able to work comfortably with all sorts of people. Look, I realize you are going to like certain people more than others. You will enjoy some people more than others, and you will prefer the company of some more than others. Fine. Noted. Now get over yourself. To be a successful leader, you must be comfortable dealing with all sorts of people.
I’m not just talking about race, gender and creed here … you know, that stuff you’re not supposed to care about, but most people actually have an opinion? Those factors are beaten to death in most management training. But has anyone ever challenged you on your ability to work with people much older or younger than yourself? Are you comfortable – or even able – to effectively connect with people of another generation? Can you honestly and easily direct and manage them or do you struggle? If it’s the latter, you need to work on that.
Next, you need to know what you can’t see. Close your eyes. Now, without peeking, turn around and run straight ahead, even if you are sitting down right now. No? Why not? Are you uncomfortable with what may be behind you? Of course, you are?
Nobody likes to run off into the unknown without some idea what they’re getting into. Sadly, some managers do it all the time. They know their skills, but they are blind to their weaknesses. Guess what, friend, it’s not going to be your strengths that bring you down. It will be that thing you pretend isn’t there that gets you. And, finally, you need to be able to finish what you start. That’s it. Simple, direct and easy to understand. Don’t stop. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Get that stuff done.
What are you waiting for? Get started!
Jonah Engler is a financial expert from NYC.