The Greatest Leadership Trait of Successful People

Our lives improve only when we take chances—and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves - WALTER ANDERSON, Editor of Parade magazine for 20 years

I want to really dive into the one common trait that all successful leaders share and that trait is the ability to identify what’s not working and deal with it quickly.

As someone in a leadership position – whether you’re a trainer, corporate manager, MLM distributor with a downline, owner of a small business, manager of a sports team, or parent – you want your team to thrive while working together to generate great results.

That means you need to have a strong understanding of what’s working – as well as what’s not.

It’s sometimes tempting to focus only on the positives and ignore the negatives in the hope they’ll magically resolve themselves. On rare occasions, that actually happens. But, far more often, a negative situation left untreated will fester and grow into something that threatens the health and performance of your entire team.  

Great Leaders Deal With What Isn’t Working As Soon As Possible

To create an environment where all of your team members work in complete alignment with each other, genuinely care for each other, and work together to accomplish incredible goals, there’s one incredibly important step you need to take:

You’ve got to face what isn’t working and deal with it as soon as possible.

Do you defend or ignore how toxic your work environment is?

Do you make excuses for your team members’ poor performances?

Are you in denial about a personal conflict between individuals that’s negatively impacting the dynamics of the team?

Has a team member developed a bad attitude that’s affecting others?

Great leaders face these circumstances squarely, heed the warning signs, and take appropriate action, no matter how uncomfortable or challenging it might be.

Great Leaders Pay Attention

Pay attention to the “yellow alerts”.

Yellow alerts are the little signals you get that something’s not right. People aren’t speaking up in meetings. Team members talking in low voices fall silent when you enter the room. When you make a presentation, people looked bored and disengaged. Sales are down for the third quarter in a row. Great Leaders Face the Uncomfortable Situation Head On

Sometimes we choose to acknowledge these alerts and take action, but more often than not, we simply choose to ignore them. We pretend not to notice that something’s amiss.

Why?

Because to face what’s not working in your team, organization, or own personal leadership means you’re going to have to do something uncomfortable.

You might have to confront somebody, risk not being liked, demand respect, let someone go, or maybe even quit your job. But if you aren’t willing to do these uncomfortable things, you’ll end up tolerating a situation that doesn’t work to the point where it causes serious damage.

To learn more about the traits of great leaders, check out my article about the 5 habits of successful people.

You might also enjoy this leadership qualities infographic by Brian Tracy.

Become a More Inspiring and Effective Leader

Keeping this leadership trait in mind, I want to leave you with a bit of homework to complete. Write down at least 5 things that aren’t working in your organization right now. Then, resolve to talk to the appropriate people to get find a solution for those issues. To hold yourself accountable, leave a comment below with 1 thing that you could improve upon from your list. I’ll follow up with you guys to make sure you’re staying on track!

If you are committing to becoming the best possible leader you can be, I encourage you to take my leadership quiz. It will show you your leadership potential and help you identify your talents so that you can strengthen them to higher levels.

You can quickly take it and find out how to become an effective, well-respected and beloved leader who is able to inspire any team or audience to be their best selves and achieve incredible goals. Click the button below for more details.

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  • Akash Karia

    Hi Jack,

    My take is that inspirational leaders are not necessarily inspiring in the traditional sense where they possess messianic qualities. As a matter of fact many successful companies have leaders that are quite the opposite.

    For example, Steve Jobs was known as a ruthless leader and he was tremendously successful. With his hard line and visionary approach to leadership, Apple succeeded tremendously.

    Andrew Grove was also known as very tough to executive to work with.

    Do these leaders, amongst others like Larry Page, Bill Gates, Lee Kuan Yew etc conform your model of inspirational leadership given their tougher and to some extent less forgiving leadership style?

    Hear from you.

    Akash

    • You are comparing apples to oranges Akash. The Steve Jobs or Larry Page of the future is most certainly not reading articles on how to become an inspiring leader. Those [few] people already are.
      The info Jack provided is ideal and actionable for people looking to improve their leadership qualities.

  • Diann Martin

    Thanks Jack for another wonderful summary about leaders, we certainly need more of them in healthcare.

  • Yasser Dhouib

    thank you very much jack , for your inspiring methods

    • You are welcome, Yasser! Wishing you all the best!