4 Traits of Leaders from Our Time
Many entrepreneurs claim they have discovered the perfect formula for success. Some focus on industry, such as real estate, while others value daily habits. People tend to focus on what made them attain their goals, believing you should follow in their footsteps. However, there are many paths to success—and not to mention, many destinations. So can there be any common traits or concepts we can glean from the leaders of our time?
Their coach thinks so.
On Season 6 episode 30 of the Making Bank Podcast, Brendon Burchard chats about traits of high performers. As someone who has coached dozens of leaders such as Oprah, Brendon has seen first-hand what they are made of and what they do with it. In the episode, he outlines commonalities in the highly successful and explains how you can apply it to your life and business.
So, what are they?
Before we hop onto the traits of high performers, it’s important to distinguish who high performers are. You may be thinking that high performers sound a lot like peak performers. In many ways, they are similar. Both strive to do their best and to become efficient and effective. The difference, however, is that high performers have stamina. Instead of finding a window of time to “peak perform,” high performers have found a balance of work and rest.
In the long run, high performers usually outperform peak performers, as they have found a more long-term and sustainable work ethic. Burchard has worked with people such as Oprah, Larry King, Usher and more and has seen what makes a person become a high performer.
So, let’s get into it.
The first and the most obvious trait of a high performer is ambition. Many people understand the power of ambition. However, Burchard qualifies it, bringing a new perspective to the trait. Ambition alone doesn’t always guarantee success. Rather, it is a certain kind of ambition that does.
Burchard believes that ambition, when associated with self-permission, gives someone the ability to become a leader. Oftentimes, we look for permission in others to do the things we want. This may look like encouragement from family, support from friends, or the guidance of a mentor. None of these dynamics are negative to have. But what happens if someone does not give you that encouragement? What if you look for that encouragement but can’t find it? If you spend all your time waiting for someone to push you in the right direction, you might never head there.
When we rely on others to tell us how successful we can be, we usually follow what they say—for good and for bad. If someone tells you that you will fail and you believe them, you probably will.
However, those that reach extreme levels of success have ambition that is unmoored to others. They give themselves permission to go beyond their circumstances. They give themselves permission to dream big and go for big things. They can excel beyond what others tell or believe for them.
So, if you want to reach success, first give yourself permission to do so.
Next, Burchard qualifies ambition with vision. You can yearn for success all you want, but if you don’t know what that looks like, how can you ever find it? You don’t need an exact path or a specific goal. Rather, if you can figure out the direction in which you want to head, you can get there faster. Ambition without vision is like a traveler without a map. You may get to your destination, you may not. But a map is always helpful.
Burchard also stresses the importance of competency. Now, there can be a lot of debate about natural abilities versus experience. In a way, this is an extension of the nature versus nurture debate. Are we born with our abilities to succeed, or do we make them?
Burchard, along with figures like Malcolm Gladwell, believe we can make them. And any high performer will tell you the same. Burchard says every single leader and high performer he has coached has learned their craft well. More importantly, they keep improving. They often look to how they can grow and change, even decades into their craft.
While it may be tempting to settle down once you have honed a skill, this repeated self-reflection and growth will push you to the next level.
In growing in your competency, you will also grow in your confidence. As you learn more, you begin to realize that you can learn. This experience gives you the confidence to try more and to try new things. You begin to go after things that are less certain and when you conquer them, you become more competent and confident in your abilities.
Burchard calls this the Competence-Confidence Loop and is necessary for every high performer. The great part is that once you enter the loop, you stay in it until it becomes second nature.
Lastly, it’s imperative that you find a community to become a high performer. Burchard found that those who became high performers were not necessarily born into a group of supportive people, but rather found them. He encourages every entrepreneur to volunteer, find successful people in the community, network, and attend conferences. Surround yourself with supportive people and they will get you through tough times.
In other words, build a community that helps build you up.