The “greats” all have one thing in common; they all employ these five leadership skills to ensure their success: adaptability, relationship building, integrity, a learner’s attitude, and generosity toward followers.
Let me give you a quick review of what Dr. Dave Martin says about each of these five points in his book, The 12 Traits of the Greats.
1) Adaptability- Adaptability is the positive quality of being able to sense a change in wind direction (or to be smacked in the face with sudden change) and proactively adjust one’s attitude and direction. The key to adaptability is one’s willingness to change. Successful people realize change is inevitable; they realize a person’s capacity to not only accept change but prosper from disguised opportunities is a key element of growth and success.
To resist change is to resist reality. Nothing in life will last forever; while the storms of life will surely move on, so will the beautiful things in life. Those who are prepared for change and those who can navigate it successfully will travel through life with greater enjoyment and success.
The next time you are confronted with a major change, ask yourself the following probing questions to learn whether or not you are approaching the change positively: Am I secretly afraid of what may happen from this change? Am I doing things to resist this change? What is it I am afraid of losing? What price will I pay if I do not get onboard with this change? What deliberate steps would I have to take to turn this change into opportunity?
The only way you can get better is to change some things about yourself. You have to choose to get better; you have to choose to improve yourself through change or stay the same. The most obvious fact is you cannot make things different in your life by keeping them the same.
2) Relationships. No individual is completely self-reliant; we can only reach our goals with the assistance of others.
Truly successful people are socially aggressive; they grasp the absolute necessity of creating and nurturing relationships. Successful people know large numbers of people; they are great at staying in touch with people because they understand the value of relationships.
The “greats” surround themselves with people who are great achievers because they know there is a benefit in simply being around people who can inspire your mind with greatness. There is also a power in asking people within your circle for help as well as mentoring. The hidden system of mentoring (giving and receiving) that exists in the business and social world is the real support system that propels people to success.
Great leaders understand there are only a finite number of hours in a day and that any one individual is limited in what he can accomplish. They understand that if you choose and select a few promising people, pour yourself into their growth, empower them to carry the vision forward, they can achieve far more than by going it alone.
To be successful is to recognize the immense importance of other people in your life; whatever you hope to become and whatever you hope to achieve, you will achieve largely with the help of others.
3) Learner’s attitude. If we are to truly grow, learning must be an ongoing, never-ending process. Unfortunately, mental, spiritual, and social growth, are not so automatic. Unless you make a conscious effort to grow in the area of your mind and heart, you will remain unchanged, ignorant, and immature. You cannot improve your life without actually doing something, especially through the accumulation of new knowledge. In order to start the process of change and growth, you must learn something today that you did not know yesterday.
Ask yourself; “Are you doing as well as you would like to be doing?” There is always room for more knowledge and more growth; successful people have a thirst for knowledge, an innate desire to improve themselves. All great people want to know what they don’t know. But even more important they want to understand how to apply the new knowledge. Real growth consists of increasing one’s knowledge each day, and then applying the information in the real world in a way that impacts your success. Wisdom, therefore, is more than brain power; wisdom is an action.
Everything you desire in life will be acquired through the accumulation of wisdom. Every problem you face in life can be solved with the right information and the correct application of that knowledge. Every success you achieve will be the result of a new foundation of knowledge. If we lack the wisdom to move forward it is because we have failed to open our hearts and minds to receive it.
4) Integrity. While many talents and skills may move us up the ladder of success, integrity will keep us there. At the crowning point of your life, it will become a lot more about your “inner being” than what you achieved. Sooner or later every person will be forced to perform on three important questions that will reveal everything about his or her integrity and character: Did I do what I said I would do? Did I do it when I said I would do it? Did I stand behind it after I did it?
Leadership is nothing more than the ability to inspire other people to follow you towards your destination. By nature people want to follow, but they are not inclined to do so. In order to expect people to sacrifice their own priorities in order to adopt yours, they must be sold on two things: First they must be sold on where you are taking them; second, they must be sold on you as a person. They must believe you can take them where they want to go and that it will be worthy of their sacrifices.
You will never be able to inspire people if they do not trust you; their trust must be earned. To earn their trust you must speak the truth, and then you must live what you speak; you must be a good role model. So everything you ever accomplish will revolve around who you are on the inside. Who you are on the inside is demonstrated everyday by your actions and the words you speak. Great leaders are characterized by their honesty, trustworthiness, and dealing straight with every person, every day.
5) Generosity. The process of becoming prosperous is simple; the first step is simply to change one’s thinking about money; prosperity is more about one’s mindset. We need money to provide ourselves with shelter, clothing, medical care, food, transportation, and other life necessities. But prosperity goes beyond these basic needs; it is the ability to thrive – to pursue the dreams that are in your heart, to reach out and lift others up, to have the resources to make a difference and leave an impact on others in your world.
Never lose sight of the fact that money is nothing more than a tool that can bring dreams to life. Money flows to those who use it well, respect it, value it, and learn how to use it properly, but it flows away from those who use it poorly. Consequently, it is not the abundance or lack of money that determines success, but one’s attitude toward money. When you develop an attitude of generosity, you will attract money and prosperity. Successful people don’t gather things for themselves, they cultivate a life of generosity and spend their lives enhancing the lives of others. Andrew Carnegie said, “No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.” A spirit of generosity will transform the way you see and use money.