From unicorns, iconic brands, soldiers, psychologists, athletes and entrepreneurs, all share hard-won insights and wisdom on leadership. Importantly, all offer surprising, nuanced approaches to inspire and empower others to do their very best.

They all share the same key characteristics. Importantly most of the truly remarkable leaders worldwide I’ve seen in action over the last 25+ years also share these characteristics. I believe the following are critical for success:

  1. Persistence. Whether you are an elite athlete, a leading VC or private equity firm – all illustrate the striking feature of continual persistence and constant drive to deliver top results and superb returns, quarterly and into the future.
  2. Mental toughness and grit.This pertains to growth mindset, grit, resilience, perseverance, and the ability to successfully cope with adversity. Additionally, immense endurance and dedication!
  3. The ability to set and achieve goals, tasks and keep habits. Olympians today’s top leaders show a greater capacity to set and work toward specific performance goals, plan and mentally prepare for games or business, and have a clear strategy to perform their best. 
  4. Optimism is a generally stable trait in which people feel that positive things will happen. Optimistic people also confront challenges with confidence and persistence. Additionally, Optimists have a tendency to make lemonade out of lemons, and to then see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. It’s an admirable quality, one that can positively affect mental and physical health. (I know I always see a half-full glass!)
  5. Positive Psychology. Leaders that consistently set the standards, maintain high performance and are extraordinary, all have a positive psychology and are consistently happier, more joyful and fulfilled than others.

(However, I have witnessed the most positive people I know, still have ‘dark periods’, but they are always shorter in duration, and the good days always outnumber the bad days. I do believe ‘problems’ gradually begin to dissolve.)

  1. Integrity and Honesty. As D.Eisenhower (34th President of United States), once stated, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in the army, or an office.”

I personally have seen, all the best leaders stick to their promises, core beliefs and values – and never move ‘sideways’, even under pressure. I know, without integrity and honesty – you simply can’t lead people or expect people to believe in you or follow you. (No matter if you run a start up in San Francisco, are an athlete or President of the United States.)

  1. Perfectionists. Rarely criticized, have self-doubt or make mistakes often. All leaders, who are perfectionists, tend to set the bar high, personally raise their standards, remain positive and always strive for great achievement.
  2. The ability to focus and block out distractions. This entails the ability to automatize and focus on what you can control, and not be easily distracted. Having ‘spunk’, steadfastness and backbone is par for the course with the best leaders.
  3. Competitiveness. This brakes down into three themes: having a killer instinct, being intense (e.g., having an aggressive and go for it attitude), and being competitive (e.g., being a fighter and never giving up).  Drive, guts and resolution usually win most battles!
  4. Clarity. All leaders consistently have clear intentions, have certainty, precision as it relates to what they want to achieve daily. They how to interact with their family, staff and clients, know the skills they must develop and the lucidity to serve with excellence. Importantly, all the best athletes, entrepreneurs, Ad Agency CEO’s and leaders always understand what’s achievable and meaningful too. Importantly, the best also look to the coming quarters, years, projects and determine in advance the enthusiasm, connection and meaning they need to devote too!
  5. Great Communicator. All great leaders today and always, have excelled at clearly communicating their vision to their teams/staff and telling them the strategy to achieve their business and marketing goals.

An age old adage or proverb goes “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”. Communication is what separates a poor leader from an exceptional one. Having effective communication skills is the key to good leadership.

Bottom-line, if you are unable to communicate your message effectively to your team, you can never be a good leader. A good communicator can be a good leader. Words have the power to influence and motivate people and make them do the unthinkable. If you use them effectively, you can also achieve better results.

Conclusion. To become a great leader, you must have all these qualities but if you lack some of these qualities, then you might struggle to make the mark in the world of leadership (whether in business, sports or even politics).

You will have to set a great example for others to role model and follow. That is where your clarity, energy, commitment, passion, empathy, honesty and integrity come into play. Great communication skills and decision-making capabilities also play a vital role in success and failure of a leader. Lastly, innovation and creative thinking, as well as the futuristic vision, are the key traits which make a leader extraordinary today!



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More about Geoff De Weaver: 

Super Strategist for the Fortune 500 – Geoff is a leading international expert on new business development, brand marketing, innovation, and growth. He has also directly assisted hundreds of Fortune 500 brands and clients generate billions in new business revenue from North America to Asia to Europe, South America and Australia/Oceania.

Geoff has successfully built businesses, agencies, opened offices worldwide, saved companies and helped clients generate billions of dollars of revenue and growth with their brands. 

Geoff is passionate about the art of influence, new business and presentation. His techniques can help you communicate and lead more effectively. As a global marketer, coach and workshop leader, Geoff makes mastering these advanced skills an enjoyable and achievable process. His sound business acumen and results driven approach have made him a trusted business advisor to many of the world’s leading organizations and their senior executives.

Geoff works with business leaders to ignite their courage and confidence so they can step up and step out in the way they engage people and communicate their leadership style. He is in high demand with CEO’s, CMO’s, directors, corporate executives and senior managers for his expert counsel and guidance in creating strategies for face-to-face communications and integrated global campaigns that are engaging and delivered with confidence and passion to key stakeholders.

Want to win more new business, grow faster and increase your revenue? Then get chemistry on your side. For more information, contact Geoff De Weaver at geoff@geoffdeweaver.com or DM me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/geoff_deweaver or call me at: +61 411 224 961





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