The one thing that has become very clear to me over the years of leadership development and working with executives is that we all face the same challenges and struggles. It is also a fact that there are certain attributes which separate leaders into the upper echelons of performance. At our firm, we have dedicated ourselves to gather the data necessary to be able to coach our clients and their teams to produce higher levels of results more often to benefit their organizational success.
The world will definitely be a lesser place if we do not raise our standards as leaders and continue the process of becoming the people we know we are destined to become. We must continually keep ourselves in a positive transformational process. If we don’t, not only do we deny ourselves, we deny those who would benefit from our continual achievement and success. How can we push further into superior performance in our leadership roles? I’ve jotted down some thoughts on these five attributes we have seen in top performers that you should strive for in your leadership development.
1. They are ambitious; they see themselves capable of being the best. Many people see ambition as a negative, but if you think about it, ambition creates vision. Typically people think about having vision as a positive. Even though they are two different things, ambitious people seem to be able to more easily create a vision for themselves to succeed. In many cases we have seen, success is 80% psychological and 20% technical. They have highly developed their mental skills to fully take advantage of the technical ones. Perception is a reality to that person, whether it is actual reality or not, it still is real to that person. Ambitious people seem to be able to more easily create a vision of positive perceptual possibilities for themselves.
2. They are courageous; they work hard to confront the fears that hold others back. They constantly fight the two big emotional constraints of fear and doubt. Having the emotional intelligence and a plan to continuously develop courage pushes out and eliminates fears standing in the way of success. We all have self-limiting beliefs, which cause us to doubt, but top performers constantly prove those doubts wrong and replace those doubts with faith in themselves. They can act courageously when it is called for, even if fear and doubt is pulling at them, they take action in the face of it. There is an ancient proverb which states “as a person thinks in their heart, so are they.”
3. They are highly self-aware and can self-regulate their emotions. They never waste a moment by being somewhere else mentally while being present physically. They are mentally and physically in the same place at the same time. While others are thinking about home while at work and vice-versa, top performers do not. Wherever they are, they are present and they have powerful relationships and networks that reflect that strength of presence. Even when their thoughts pull them in another direction, they have developed the ability to focus and self-regulate themselves back to the present moment in time.
4. They are committed, they believe in themselves, their company, and their customers. Simply put, they are in love with what they do. It just makes sense, you will put more effort into and perform better in an area you are passionate about. Top performers also care a great deal about their customers; they care as much about the customer’s situation as they do their own. They have empathy and understanding for the customer is each instance and situation. This enriched development of interpersonal skills is a powerful catalyst that brings health and energy into each relationship combined with a self-perpetuating series of wins like a domino effect caused by a commitment to their own success.
5. They are continuous learners, they constantly educate themselves. They have taken their abilities to skills and on to mastery level. School is never out for them, they see each situation as a chance to learn, no matter if it is successful or a failed attempt. They learn about themselves, they learn about their customers, they take advantage of additional professional development when possible. They also take the opportunity to put the learning into action at the earliest opportunity. They are not just learners; they are also masters of executing what they learn which gives them an edge over others who may be their competition.
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