Here’s the thing: some of the most successful leaders in the world will readily admit that they aren’t any smarter, luckier, more talented, or even more confident than their less successful peers.
So, what is it that leads to their success?
We tried finding out what exactly makes people stand out and take the charge. Leadership is no easy feat to achieve in today’s competitive times, yet the people who overcome every hurdle and reach the top are no different than the rest of us. There is only a slight difference that brings all the change. We are letting you in on that secret, so that you can try these yourself. A successful leader always has these traits:
1. Be Trusting and trustworthy: Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests that great leaders make their employees feel secure and draw staffers into a circle of trust.
2. Emotionally connected to the work: Author Robert Greene has interviewed and analysed the lives of people he calls “masters” and discovered that the most successful leaders were emotionally connected to their work and their success. Success, he says, is often a result of resiliency and a love of what you’re doing.
3. Sensitive and flexible: Researcher Jeffrey Pfeffer studied great leaders of history and noted that recognizing and being sensitive to the needs of others, and then being flexible enough to fit your position to match, were keys to successful leadership.
4. Creative: Research shows that most people will do whatever is easy, but the most successful among us get creative to do what works best instead, and that is always the path to success.
5. Willing to fail: Author Dan Schwabel notes that successful leaders have a willingness to fail — in order to succeed. They don’t give up when faced with failure, but rather use it as a learning experience toward future success.
6. Hard workers: Author Richard St. John interviewed more than 500 successful people, and noted that all of them worked long hours. But they avoided burnout because they loved what they do (see No. 2). They would spend as much as 80% of their time doing work they loved, and only 20% of their time on necessary work they didn’t love.
7. Happy: Harvard researcher Shawn Achor discovered that success doesn’t lead to happiness — happiness leads to success. People who can raise their happiness level can also raise their level of success.
8. Early adopters: Being first is expensive and stressful. But being an early adopter allows you to follow successful trends and the guy who starts second is actually more likely to win.
9. 10X thinkers: Astro Teller, head of Google X, said “It’s easier to make something 10 times better than to make something 10% better.” That’s because you must rethink everything from the ground up, rethink the entire process, and ignore the old rules.
10. Networkers: The most successful leaders don’t go it alone; they tend to have a diverse network that they are connected to and whom they can connect. People with larger networks get better jobs, are more successful at those jobs, and are more creative.
The great thing about these traits is that you can work to improve them. Even researcher Shawn Achor has shown that he can train people’s brains to be happier.
So, which of these traits will you choose to work on to make yourself a better, more successful leader? Would you add any other ones to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.