How To Be A Great Leader – The Ultimate Guide

How to be a great Leader Like Obama

I’ve been collecting leadership advice from the best in the world. This information has been specially curated and only includes the the top individuals:

Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

Sam Walton was crowned the richest person in the world. Moreover, he took a small store in Bentonville, Arkinsas and built it into a national empire as the underdog. Here’s what he has to say about leadership:

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves it ‘s amazing what they can accomplish.”

Richard Branson

In an interview at the London Business School, Richard said:

The key to being a good business leader is caring about other people.  If you can genuinely care about people, not just your fellow directors, but the cleaning lady, the switchboard operator, everybody throughout the company… If you praise and not criticize people, people will flourish. It really is your people skills that will set you apart. And I don’t think that can be overemphasized.

If I am on a Virgin plane, I make sure notebook in the back of my pocket. If they got issues, I make sure those issues get written. I talk to the passengers and if they have issues, I write them down.

I had a meeting with someone yesterday and there were issues after issues coming up. I noticed he wasn’t writing them down. I said, “Are you going to remember them all?” And he said,”Yeah, I got them all in my brain.” And I just knew at least half of the issues would disappear.

Kevin Plank, billionaire CEO of Under Armour

According to a speech he made linked here, Kevin says leaders first and foremost solve problems. If he had to put a business card on each Under Armour team member, it would just say, “problem solver.”

Leaders are also operators. It does not matter if you are in human resources or apparel, you are a leader.

Great Leaders:

  • always have a herd.
  • fight for their herd and the herd knows.
  • they treat employees with respect and dignity.
  • they do not think of employees as people who do their bidding. Instead, they treat them as partners.
  • always have people who like following them. It could be because of  their charisma, personality, or their deep belief, which convinces people into buy their vision and not just for a paycheck.
  • always have a point of view and will go as hard as they can in that direction. If they figure out its the wrong direction, they will make a decision.
  • always have intellectual curiosity. They ask, “Why?” They ask stuff like, “Why do we wear sweaty t-shirts if they get so hot?”
  • always believe. They know that tomorrow will be better than today. They have no idea if it can happen or not but they have the mindset of “Why couldn’t it happen?”

He quotes Bob McDonald, the chairman of Proctor and Gamble:

The new Golden Rule is to do unto others as they want to be treated, not how you want to treat them.

He wants you to think about them and how you bring that onto your customer and how you listen.

Warren Buffett

According to a 2017 interview of him and Jorge Paulo Lemann (time stamp 18:40), Great leaders have their followers’ interests at heart. You know it’s not just about their self interest. They can be very different in personality and style, but they have that common quality where you believe that they can see where you can’t see.

Warren Buffett has constantly pointed to Tom Murphy, one of his managers, and Jeff Bezos as the best leaders he’s ever seen.

David Ogilvy

Ogilvy is considered the “father of advertising” in the advertising world. He built his agency from nothing to one of the largest in the world, which billed over a billion dollars a year to clients and went public on the Stock Exchange.

In the book The Unpublished David Ogilvy, there are never-before-discovered notes. In one of his notes, he reveals what he looks for in leaders:

  1. High personal ethics.
  2. Big people, without prettiness (I am not sure what this means… Maybe tough people rather than attractive people?).
  3. Guts under pressure; resilience in defeat.
  4. Brilliant brains – not safe plodders.
  5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil (staying up late to work).
  6. Charisma – charm and persuasiveness.
  7. A streak of unorthodoxy – creative innovators.
  8. The courage to make tough decisions.
  9. Inspiring enthusiasts – with thrust and gusto.
  10. A sense of humor.

Jorge Paulo Lemann

According to a 2017 interview with Warren Buffett, Jorge (net worth of $30.9 billion according to Forbes), said these things:

  • Focus; if you try to do to many things at once, you will fail.
  • You have to point at a direction, usually a vision.
  • You have to have the right people to do it with.
  • Be efficient and as rationalize as possible.
  • Take a little bit of risk.
  • Keep the costs down.

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill spent 20+ years studying 500 of the wealthiest people in the world in person. He was among some of the world’s best leaders.

Here’s what he said:

1. Unwavering Courage

People don’t like following someone who is not confident, has low self-esteem, or isn’t courageous. No intelligible follower will stay a follower for long with such a leader.

2. Self-Control

People who can’t control or restrain themselves won’t be able to do this for others.  Having self-control is a great example for people who follow you. Your intelligent followers will model how you behave if you exercise self-control.

3. A Keen Sense Of Justice

Without being fair and just, you can’t command and keep the respect of your followers.

4. Definiteness of Decision

People who waver or keep changing their minds show that they’re not sure of themselves. They cannot lead others well.

5. Definite Plans

A great leader must plan the work and then execute it thoroughly. A leader who makes decisions of guesses rather than a solid, definite plan will eventually fail.

6. Do More Than What You Are Paid For

As a leader, you should more than you require your followers to do. It’s almost a necessity.

7. A Pleasing Personality

No one wants a careless person to be a leader. Leaders must be respected.

In order for people to respect you, you must have a personality that is pleasing for people to be around. You must also have sympathy and understanding.

It’s really important to listen and understand your followers and their problems thoroughly.

Richard Branson emphasizes listening as one of the most important skills of a leader and entrepreneur.

8. Attention To Detail

A successful leader is a master of all the details that the role requires.

9. Willing To Assume Full Responsibility

You must be willing to take all the responsibility for the mistakes of your followers. If you try to blame others, you won’t be a leader for long. If your followers make a mistake, you have failed as a leader.

If you look through history, leaders who led by force without consent never lasted for long.

10. Cooperate

A great leader must apply the principle of cooperation and induce followers to do the same. Leadership usually has responsibilities of power and power requires cooperation.

Because of your high role at a company, your suggestions can be perceived as orders.

Before you say something, be sure to take a second and breath. Ask yourself if it’s worth it.

Speak First?

A study by Anderson and Kilduff in 2009 discovered that the person who speaks first in a group is seen by others as the leader. At first, this didn’t make much sense to me. Just because they speak first doesn’t mean they are the leader or deserve to be.

But then, I thought about it more. It’s the perception. And maybe it’s more complicated than that. Perhaps the social hierarchy makes it so that the leader is usually the first to speak. Also, speaking first in any conversation is important because it dictates the tone of everything to follow.

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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

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