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Think like a leader [extract from the book Limitless]

di Alberto Cervini

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Leadership is no longer about knowing all the answers or having all the answers. It is not about being the hero coming to the rescue. It is not about being naturally charismatic, although being naturally charismatic can be of benefit. Leadership is about facilitating the process, facilitating to gather the points of view from others, facilitating the performance of the team or the organization. As a leader, you need to take the heavy burden off your shoulders and leverage the resources around you to facilitate.

Developing a strong personal character is absolutely critical for anyone who wants to achieve any level of meaningful success in their lives. After all, if meaningful success was easy then everyone would be achieving it. The truth is that the higher your goals, the harder the journey to get there. And the harder the journey is the stronger you will have to become in order to accomplish that journey.

The first step to preparing for a tough journey is to develop a strong sense of self discipline. Thus, only those with a strong sense of self discipline will be able to resist the temptation to give up the challenging road and settle for an easier life that doesn’t take them to where they ultimately want to be.

This is best illustrated by the example of an athlete. While many people dream of achieving results or win competitions only a small percent of those actually do. The main reason for this is that many people give up along the way because the road to that dream is very difficult to say the least. Countless hours of brutal training are required to develop and drastically change a person’s body or to compete.

Only those with the strongest sense of self discipline are able to get out of bed hours before dawn day after day, week after week, and year after year. Only those with the strongest sense of self discipline are able to apply themselves fully to their training each and every time they train. It is for this reason that only those with the strongest sense of self discipline are able to enjoy the reality of their dream and the opportunity for a life change.

By constantly striving to be your best can, you continue to become your best. Additionally, by applying yourself fully day after day your best will in fact become better. Just as the athlete becomes stronger in weightlifting or faster at running by putting the best effort, so too, you will become better at anything you choose to do by putting your best effort into each aspect of your life.

One of the most important lessons on the road to success is to never run away from your mistakes. The most successful people aren’t those who never made any mistakes. Far from it. The most successful people are simply those who learned the lessons their mistakes had to offer. The trick is to take ownership of your choices. Only when a person is able to own up to their shortcomings are they able to overcome their shortcomings. If you run from a mistake then you allow it to control you.

Those who are destined for success will have the same number of problems along the way. The difference is that they will face those problems with the confidence needed to find the solutions. Therefore, the key is to never see a problem as a barrier, rather you should see a problem as an opportunity. Think about the solutions, not the problems themselves.

My best tips for being a great leader.

1. Always be confident, but not arrogant. Many people confuse the two, but for you to be confident when you are leading, you need to ensure that you know what you are talking about. You also need to ensure that when you speak, you do so with confidence.

2. Never rely on the knowledge or judgement of others. Instead, you need to make sure you know what you are talking about and although it is important to listen to other peoples’ opinions, you need to make sure you do your own research before you decide that they are correct.

3. Being a successful leader is all about having a vision. If you do not have a vision, then those you are leading will not have a vision and there is no way that you will ever be able to reach your goals.

4. If you want to be a great leader, then you need to learn how to inspire others. I suggest you to read psychology books so you can understand how the human mind works. This will help you to inspire those who are in your group, get out there and become the inspiration they need.

5. If you are going to be a leader, you must be ambitious and you must be able to take risks. A great leader does not hide in the corner and fear risk-taking, instead is out there doing what needs to be done and overcome limits.

6. Never allow anyone to tell you that you cannot do something. I have often said that if you tell me I can’t do something, I will go out and do it just to prove you wrong. This is the mindset we all need to have. You are the only person who decides what you can and can not do and by allowing others to set limits for you, you are allowing them to lead you, instead of you leading them.

7. A true leader is an organized person. There is no way you can lead a group of people if you are not organized. You have to know where all of your notes are, you have to be able to find the information that is needed when it is needed, and you need to be able to lead by example. If you are not organized, there is no way your group is going to be organized and without organization, the project will fail.

8. You have to learn how to handle stress. If you have nervous issues and get angry easily, this is not how a successful leader behaves. If you struggle with handling stress, I suggest you to work on that before anything else. You need to focus on solving your mind issues before you try to lead a group of people.

9. Communication is the key, but there is more to it than just listening to what the members of your group have to say. You have to be able to articulate what you are thinking as well as what you would like to see done. You have to be able to speak to a group of people without losing your nerve.

10. Committing to your own plan is vital if you want to be a strong leader. Many times, people will come up with a plan, think that it is a good idea, and then pass it off for the group to handle while not being involved. You have to commit to your plan if you want to get anyone else to commit to it. You have to show that your idea is important to you if you want others to make it important to them. If you lack commitment, then it is guaranteed that those you are leading are going to lack commitment as well.

11. Whatever you are working on has to solve a problem. If you create a vision that does not address a problem, then there is not a goal to work toward. You need to be able to discuss the problem with your group and focus on solving that specific problem. Other issues may arise along the way and you can make note of them, but you need to make sure your focus stays on dealing with the specific problem your vision addresses.

12. Be able to acknowledge your own weaknesses. Knowing what your weaknesses are will allow you to find members in your group to help fill in the gaps. If you struggle with organization, then find a member of your team who excels at it. If you are unable to admit that you do have your own weaknesses, your group will not be successful.

13. A true leader is fair. We are all human and we have people who we tend to want to trust more than others. We have favorites and we would rather listen to our friends than anyone else but when you are a leader, you have to forget all of that and learn how to be fair to everyone. You have to understand that everyone in your group matters and even if you do not like the person at all, you have to be willing to listen to what they have to say.

14. Be resourceful. When you are a leader, you are not always going to have all of the answers and there are going to be times when you try something and it simply does not work out. When this happens, you need to be willing to try another method. You cannot allow the feeling of failure to stop you and you cannot be afraid of failure. You need to remember that not everything is going to work out every time and remind yourself that you don’t know everything there is to know. If you can’t come up with an idea on your own, be willing to discuss it with the entire group.

15. Be positive. As you learned in my book Limitless, you are what you think and you achieve results accordingly to your thoughts. Don’t let negative moments to take the rest of your time apart. Negativity is contagious, such as positivity, and may destroy projects and relations.

16. Don’t be serious all of the time. Be silly, be energetic, and be happy. You are the leader, but this does not mean that you have to be a downer all of the time. People tend to relate better with leaders who allow them to see who they really are at least some of the time. I use to treat my team members as friends and share activities like traveling, sports and competitions. Don’t be afraid to laugh with your group and don’t be afraid to show them your real personality.

17. Understand that there are going to be times when people will not be able to meet their obligations and that is okay, but you also need to be willing to talk to them to find out why they have not done what they were supposed to. When people join your group, they are saying that they will do what they need to do to help you reach your goals, and when they do not fulfill the responsibilities you have given them it can be frustrating but you need to understand when action is needed and when it is not.

18. A great leader will always have someone they can turn to for help. This is known as the leader’s right hand man or woman. This person is in charge of catching anything that you miss and helps to carry the load when things become challenging.

19. Never assume. You should never assume that those who are in your group are working on the project or that they are doing the things that need to be done. Never assume that things are going as planned. Always make sure you have the data to back up everything or find out a solution right on time.

20. Believe in team members and make sure they know that you believe in them. Knowing that your leader believes in you and is not going behind your back, making sure that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, is very important when you are working on a team.

Leaders don’t serve themselves. As a leader, it is not about how many people work for you. It is about how you can serve the organization, your employees, and your shareholders in ways that provide the necessary value to the company and to the market.

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