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Your leadership qualities exude outwards from you, consciously or unconsciously.
And I think that leadership qualities that you cultivate, as well as your leadership skills, are inextricably linked to the quality and quantity of relationships and partnerships that you are able to build.
I don’t think that it’s enough to simply copy some templates or have a contract and suddenly think that your work when it comes to building partnerships is done.
I strongly believe that the success of your partnerships; your professional relationships and your personal relationships also depends a great deal on who you are as a person and what you exude, and how you present yourself and communicate.
By cultivating a set of ideal personal qualities, you can become the person who doesn’t need to try. Because you attract opportunities to you.
And that is why I decided to create this section on the characteristics of a great and effective leader. And by being a great leader, you become the ideal partner yourself.
Your vibe attracts your tribe. If you want to connect with excellent individuals, it makes sense to become an excellent individual yourself that others would be excited to connect with.
One part of how effective you are at creating and maintaining great relationships and profitable partnerships comes down to your identity and who you present yourself as. Part of this comes down to your brand, that you might put out on social media.
And another big part of it comes down to the leadership qualities you cultivate.
Are you a person who takes action? Are you a person who organizes things on your own proactively, are you a person who others trust to get things done and to follow through on their word?
And so in this article I wrote down nine characteristics which I think are essential to becoming a leader and communicating as a leader with others. I wrote down each of these based on personal experiences that I’ve had in my own life, and I think it’s important to share these with you.
1. A leader doesn’t carry grudges.
In a lot of ways, you have to have a very short term memory. If someone does something hurtful to you, you have two options to respond: either you wake up the next day having already forgotten it, or you use it as a fuel for motivation to strive even more and to improve and become better, either personally or professionally.
To give you an example:
In 2010, Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, received a scathing email from an angry host who accused him of ruining her life by allowing guests to trash her apartment.
Rather than hold a grudge against the host, Chesky responded with empathy and offered to pay for any damages.
He also used the incident as a learning opportunity, implementing new policies to ensure that hosts were properly protected in the future.
2. A leader forgets the past. But never forgets an act of kindness.
I used to live so much in the past. And I spent so many years allowing my past to affect my present moods, and as a result my life was not optimized nearly to the extent that it could have been.
I had unfinished business, and loose ends creating stress and anxiety and robbing me of energy.
This is how people get stuck.
And the sooner we can forget the past, the more bandwidth we have to create our future.
On the other hand, whenever anyone does something that helps us, it is worth gold to thank them and find some way to reward their effort later on. People always appreciate that and it helps to open future doors and opportunities.
3. A leader never burns bridges.
One of the characteristics I see of people who don’t really understand business very well, is that they allow their emotions to burn bridges.
It’s really a shame because even though we sometimes have temporary disagreements with people, we still may need to interact with that person and do business together.
Whenever we act upon our temporary emotions in the moment, and do something irrational like insult someone or block them, in the long run we are actually shooting ourselves in the foot and not acting like a good leader.
4. A leader makes certain that everyone feels heard.
Whenever you are working with a team or a group of people, you will be most effective as a leader when you allow people to speak up and share their opinions. This is important because if you don’t, you can risk alienating people and destroying their loyalty.
On the other hand, when you allow people to express themselves with you, and you perform the techniques of active listening, such as mirroring and repeating their exact words back to them, you endear yourself to others.
And this is true in all kinds of situations, whether you’re working with team members, or partners, or your customers, or just traveling with a group of friends trying to figure out what everyone wants to do.
5. A leader takes responsibility for communication breakdowns even when the fault was triggered by someone else.
By taking responsibility, you earn people’s respect and you are able to move a situation forward in a constructive, not a destructive, way.
In 2019, after a deadly crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet, CEO Dennis Muilenburg took responsibility for the company’s failures in communication and safety oversight.
Despite the fact that many of the problems were caused by lower-level employees and contractors, Muilenburg recognized the importance of taking ownership of the issue and working to address the root causes.
Always remember that an apology is not an admission of guilt. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost an argument or that you are at fault. The only thing it means is that you are going to take the next step forward, and you don’t want to lose a valuable friendship or partnership over some small thing that you cannot move past together.
6. Leaders walk away from drama and people who are addicted to drama.
Few people in business are as controversial as Elon Musk. It seems he has an army of loyal supporters and detractors and critics in equal measure.
In 2018, when Tesla faced a series of production challenges and missed its production targets, CEO Elon Musk faced intense criticism from investors and the media.
Rather than getting caught up in the drama, Musk maintained a calm and positive attitude, focusing on the company’s long-term goals and encouraging his team to stay focused on the task at hand.
7. A leader does not sweat small stuff.
The level of your leadership ability is indirect correlation to the size of the challenges that you face.
You have to keep your eyes focused on your vision. Whenever you allow yourself to become focused on anything petty, or small or trivial concerns. You diminish your quality as a leader.
Just this very week in fact, I had updated WordPress and a bunch of plugins on my e-commerce site, and suddenly a whole bunch of features stopped working.
And conveniently for me, this also coincided with a newsletter promotion where appsumo.com was promoting my products.
And then of course came the avalanche of customer complaints and support requests to my inbox.
And while most people are patient and understanding that issues occur, there are always others who start saying that you and your website are a scam, or they immediately go and post a horrible review before you’ve had any chance to give them some support.
The good news is that you and I are better than that. People will come with their petty issues, their complaints, their baggage, and their small-minded thinking. But as a leader you are above all of that. And anytime that you allow yourself to spend too much time focusing on small petty things, you diminish your latent ability as a leader.
When you are in charge, you are going to be challenged constantly. There is simply no getting around that. And the more responsibility that you take on, the greater life will challenge you.
Your leadership ability depends on your capacity to run towards challenges, to tackle them, and to solve big problems quickly.
The more you do hard things, the easier hard things become.
8. Leaders have a high stress tolerance.
We never arrive at some point in our life where all of our problems are gone completely, we simply increase our ability to withstand, cope, and manage bigger problems.
I am of the opinion that when bad things happen to you, when really terrible things happen to you, things that you might think in the moment are the worst thing that could possibly happen to you, it’s actually a huge blessing.
And the reason why I feel so certain about this is because it increases your level of stress tolerance. When you survive a really big disaster, a huge catastrophe, it makes every other problem in your life seem so small and insignificant and trivial by comparison that you have no issue going to work on those problems. All of the other problems in your life have almost no power over you anymore.
And what’s equally important is having mechanisms to cope. And I’m not talking about drugs or hookers.
I’ve written down 13 things to help myself back from incredibly difficult challenges and situations. And I think that they can help you too.
9. A leader’s biggest project is themselves.
The thing that separates leaders from everyone else is that their biggest project is themselves and their own life. They are constantly trying to optimize their life, they have a growth mindset, they always want to learn and to improve.
They find the lessons in failures, keep the things that work, and are always looking for ways that they can become better.
And because they keep getting better and better, they inspire others to follow them.
If you like this article, you’ll love the “Partner and Profit” course. Use the discount code “leaderme$#2023” to get 20% off the entire course.
Post images courtesy of freepik.com