In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill names Eleven Major Attributes of Leadership. Whether you run an agency and have a team to lead, or you are a salesperson with clients to lead, you are a leader. And let’s not forget that we always have to lead ourselves.
As with all ideals, you might find yourself lacking in some of these leadership attributes but, as we often say, Leadership can be learned – daily, not in a day.
If you have the desire to be a great leader, you can practise the Eleven Major Attributes of Leadership and improve not only your own life, but the lives of those you lead.
1. Unwavering Courage
Sometimes tough decisions have to be made and it takes courage to make them. It takes courage to follow through on those decisions. It takes courage to visit a seller and talk about adjusting the asking price. It takes courage to set goals and to commit to the actions necessary to achieve them. It takes courage to dismiss poor performers.
2. Self Control
People who cannot control themselves can never hope to control others. Self Control is discipline. Most people lack discipline in some areas of their life. These are the areas that are most often out of control.
3. A Keen Sense of Justice
A commitment to doing what is right. This means all the time, no matter how hard that may be.
4. Definiteness of Decision
This is a person who makes a decision and sticks with it. People who waver in decisions show that they are unsure of themselves. People will not follow such leaders for long.
5. Definiteness of Plans
A person who plans his or her work and works those plans. Leaders who use guesswork without practical, definite plans are like a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later they will hit the rocks.
6. The Habit of Doing More Than Paid
One of the penalties of leadership is the willingness to do more than they require of their followers. As the saying goes, if you want to be paid more for what you are doing, do more for what you are being paid now. Earl Nightingale says, “You cannot say to a fire, first give me heat and then I will give you wood”. Life doesn’t work that way, neither does compensation.
7. A Pleasing Personality
No slovenly person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader that does not grade high in all the factors of a pleasing personality.
8. Sympathy and Understanding
The successful leader must be in sympathy with his or her followers. Leaders must understand their followers and their problems.
9. Mastery of Detail
Mind the details. Small things matter. Clients notice the dirty footpath outside the office and finger marks on the window.
10. Willingness to Assume Full Responsibility
The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and shortcomings of his or her followers. Leaders who attempt to shift this responsibility will not remain the leader. If a follower shows himself to be incompetent, the leader must consider this a personal failure.
The successful leader must understand and apply the principle of co-operative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power, and power calls for co-operation.
Napoleon Hill goes on to say that there are two forms of leadership. The first, and by far the most effective, is leadership by consent of the followers. The second is leadership by force, without the consent and sympathy of followers. Force, Hill says, cannot endure.
“The relationship of employer and employee, or of leader and follower, in the future will be one of mutual co-operation, based on an equitable division of the profits of the business. In the future, the relationship of employer and employee will be more like a partnership than it has been in the past”.
In many of our offices this type of partnership is already a reality. I hope to see a lot more offices develop, through great leadership, this type of environment.
If you haven’t read Think and Grow Rich for some time, I recommend giving it a re-read. It contains some great lessons that are worth revisiting.