Do I have what it takes to be a leader?
- They think big.
- They take calculated risks.
- They are competitive.
- They are focused.
- They are driven by passion.
- They are goal getters.
- They thrive on criticism.
- They learn quickly from mistakes.
- They believe in themselves.
- They are committed.
- They learn from failures.
- They know when to move on.
- They take heed of their public persona.
- They grow a thick skin.
- They are "in the know".
This post is adapted from an infographic used with permission by Richard Mason
“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”
– Donald Trump
Self-made leaders refuse to allow their creative imagination be hindered by race, age or background. They dream big and work towards that dream. They didn’t just emerge leaders overnight; they desired it, they hungered for it and worked towards making that desire a reality.
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“To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”
– Bill Gates
Most people abhor taking risks but leaders know how to take calculated risk. Instead of shying away, leaders put up a strong risk management strategy and then go ahead to take that risk. For many, their ability to take calculated risk is the reason they emerged successful.
“And obviously from our own personal point of view, the principal challenge is a personal challenge.”
– Richard Branson
Most people dread competition but leaders thrive in competitive environments. They believe that competition brings out the best in them so they seek it out.
“The wise man put all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.”
– Andrew Carnegie
Take a look at today’s prominent leaders, and you will see that they are focused in their dealings. They don’t try to do many things at once; they focus on one. When it comes to business; leaders are focused.
“Passion is what drives me forward. Passion is what makes me go to bed at 2am and wake up at 6am.” – Aliko Dangote
Listen to effective leaders speak and you will sense a kind of passion in them. They are passionate about their calling and they pursue this calling with vigour. It’s this passion in them that keeps them going; despite their wealth, their passion keeps them working for long hours.
“I think I am very goal oriented. I’d like to win the America’s cup. I’d like Oracle to be the No 1 software company in the world. I still think it is possible to beat Microsoft.”
– Larry Ellison
Leaders are goal getters. They spend time to set goals that are high and challenging but realistic and attainable; and they don’t rest on their oars until their set goals are achieved. To them, life without goals set and achieved is life wasted.
“Dare to risk public Criticism.”
– Mary Kay Ash
Leaders don’t get weighed down by criticism; instead, they get inspired by criticism. They welcome criticism because they see criticism as a feedback to improve themselves.
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”
– Steve Jobs
They make mistakes, just like every other human and their mistakes sometimes lead to business failures but leaders don’t get bogged down by mistakes; they don’t bow their head in defeat. Instead, they quickly acknowledge their business mistakes, correct them, learn from their failures and move on.
“You are nuts and you should be proud of it. Stick with what you believe in.”
– Trip Hawkins
Strong self-belief is an uncommon trait possessed by leaders. They display a high level of self-confidence. They have little belief in fate, they strongly believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their set goals. Leaders take charge of their destiny; they don’t leave it to fate.
“I’m not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don’t have time for dying.”
– Ingvar Kamprad
Unyielding commitment is another uncommon trait of leaders. Despite acquiring tremendous wealth, they remain committed to their call.
“It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
– Bill Gates
Bill Gates knows a little something about failure. One of the most famous and successful tech entrepreneurs in history, Gates was first a college dropout. Still, in his time at Harvard, Gates told his professors he would be a millionaire by the time he turned 30. He did them one better, in fact, by age 31 he was a self-made billionaire.
“Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that's more productive.”
– Donald Trump
If it seems like Donald Trump always has his irons in a number of different fires, it's because he does. He's a prime example of a mover and shaker, constantly working new deals. But he doesn't get emotionally attached or married to any of them.
“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
– Andrew Carnegie
The Internet has forever changed the way we communicate--and the vast amount of information available about individuals and businesses. Even start-up entrepreneurs can find themselves under the microscope, to varying degrees. Social networks like Facebook mean nothing is ever really private anymore, customers are watching and potential investors are watching.
“If you never want to be criticized, for goodness' sake don't do anything new.”
– Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a tech leader many love to hate. His company has faced criticism and controversy since its launch, with Bezos' personal business ethics and management style often thrown into the mix. Bezos understands that changing the game invites criticism.
“Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don't do it.”
– Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban's first business, MicroSolutions, sold to CompuServe for $6 million. His next venture Broadcast.com was acquired by Yahoo for $5.7 billion in stock. Cuban knew his industry inside and out and continues to invest in businesses that he understands.
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