When you were in school, how often did you take the leadership role in group projects?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer is every time. We’re natural leaders. But leadership comes easier to some than others.
To help you with that, I enlisted 21-year-old professional speaker and leadership expert, Pedro De Abreu, to share seven mighty leadership characteristics that every entrepreneur should develop.
When I started in professional speaking, I thought it was odd that I wasn’t getting any call backs for further engagements. Maybe I wasn’t well-versed in marketing? Or maybe I hadn’t worked on a deal to sell copies of my books?
The reason, I later found, wasn’t in the marketing nor in my audience, it was in the speech. My delivery wasn’t right. My timing wasn’t right. In other words, I was the problem.
As soon as I was able to identify the issue and correct it, I started getting call backs and countless invitations for further engagements on the spot.
We tend to go around blaming everyone and everything else for an outcome, while we forget that we were the ones to cause something.
How do you avoid running in to this problem? Take a good look at yourself and answer the following:
- What are your weaknesses and your strengths?
- Is what you are currently doing in alignment with your objectives?
- Do you truly know yourself? If you don’t know who you are, others won’t know either.
An organization will never outgrow its leader. Moreover, the size of your success will never be greater than the size of your leadership.
“You never know who is swimming naked until the tide goes out.” – Warren Buffett
You must have a vision for your product, your family, and whatever you’re working on. Most importantly, you must have a vision for yourself.
The biblical admonition, without vision people perish, has never been truer. Without vision, you’ll never know where you’re going. Without knowing where you’re going, you’ll never get there.
Although vision is the keystone of leadership, it will never work if your character is flawed. People won’t follow you if you can’t control yourself. And, believe me, people smell phoniness from a mile away.
Your integrity and intentions must remain intact. The only way to build trust is to lead yourself exceptionally well. Watch your words, your time, your actions, and your personal life, always making sure that they align with the person whom you wish to become.
One day, Joan of Arc was marching with an army of ten thousand men through the country side of France when she came across a little boy who was building a miniature city in the sand. Joan immediately asked the boy to move out of the way, to which he replied, “I won’t, because a city cannot move, but an army can go around it.”
The city was his vision. He believed in it.
Whatever it is that you do, whatever your vision is, you must believe in it. Be prepared to spend a lot of time alone working on your dreams. People won’t automatically get you, but if you believe in your dreams just enough, you’ll liberate others to believe in them as well. If you don’t believe in the vision you have for yourself, others won’t either.
Bottom line is this, although execution is important, it is better to believe in the why than to know the how.
4. One Thing at a Time
After I graduated from high school, two of my friends and I had an idea for a web-business. We thought we’d do well, so we packed up and moved from South Carolina to California. The beginning was very tough, as we were barely able to make ends meet.
Eventually we started organizing industry events where we had bands performing for A&Rs and record label executives. Each one of the bands performing had to sell at least 20 tickets at $20 each. Gradually we were able to generate a good profit margin, one ticket at a time.
What I have found is that, in life, any obstacle can be overcome one ticket at a time. If you face your problems thinking that they can be all overcome at once, you’ll inevitably encounter much more failure than you need to. Take them slowly. Let them percolate. Divide and conquer.
As you follow your vision, you’ll encounter your fair share of challenges. But after you accomplish your goals you find that, without the lessons that you learned in difficult times, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
Every great achievement is preceded by many challenges. Take them for what they’re worth and don’t be attached to the outcome. Remember that, when you set out in your journey, the most important step will always be the first one.
5. The Magic of Giving
Out of these seven characteristics of leadership, this is the most mysterious one. I don’t know how it works, but all I know is that it does work.
If you ever want to receive something meaningful, give. Give money to charity, give your time to someone, give something to someone. Get up, go out there and give without ever expecting anything in return. That’s part of the price you pay for your success.
“Give what you want. If you want a smile, smile. If you want a punch in the mouth, throw a punch. If you want money, give money.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Hamlet famously remarked that, if he were bounded in a nutshell, he could count himself king of infinite space.
The truth is, most of us live in our nutshells and think that we can simply go on our journey on our own. Little do we know, should we go about our success that way, the chances of ever achieving something meaningful become very slim. You must realize that you are not alone. You must also realize that you won’t accomplish it all alone.
Go out there and network, make friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll find that most people are not only willing to help, but they have also been where you are. They know that the most important task of a leader is to grow others so that they can become leaders themselves
There’s a maxim that states, “a ship only sinks if you allow the water that is on the outside come to the inside.” When your ship starts to sink, those are the people who’ll help you pump the water out – or pump bad thoughts and feelings of inferiority out of your mind.
Journeys are tough. More often than not we find big rocks in our way, we step on pieces of glass, and we run out of money to invest in our vision. But time lends good fortune to those who are willing to wait.
People believe that those who sit and wait are lazy. I agree, but I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about the people who have done everything they can to achieve their goals and who are willing to wait to reap their rewards. After all, there is a season for everything. You must trust that things will turn out all right.
If you are alive today, it’s because there are greater victories in store for you.
“Work diligently all day – then sleep in peace. God will handle the night shift.” – Chad Hymas
See Pedro De Abreu Speak
Post image by: Skunkworks Photographic