What are exceptional leadership qualities?

Superb advice from Dr. William Bellet from the Southeastern Family Business Institute helped me be a better leader. His concepts detail the remarkable attributes that will separate you from the pack resulting in hyper-fast revenue growth and developing your leadership talents so you have an effective, engaged team. Don't let your competitors see this list.

1) Fire in the Belly

Do you have drive and passion for being the best? You can see these demonstrated by one who "pursues goals with conviction" and one who "resolves conflicts rather than avoiding" them, says Bellet. How to start? Get fired up. You are going to change the world with your team. Explain at the start of company-wide meetings. Answer the question: How you will change the world? At my company, Marlin Steel, we only build in the U.S. We are on a mission. What is your mission?

2) High Standards

Give your team the best tools, best talent, best training and passionately demand the best outcomes. At my company, we only hire "A" people. We do not accept mediocrity. Then we train them more than anyone in our industry. We're also constantly reinvesting in new technology and software to be at the forefront in the world. Last month, alone, we plowed $450,000 in new technology investments. Are you hiring the best talent? Giving them the best tools? Endlessly training them to be the best? Relentlessly demand superb performance so your clients are enchanted with your products and services. 

3) Interpersonal Maturity

Do you constantly strive to see the good in others? Do you adapt to find opportunity in challenging times? Identify the strengths in your team and give them bonuses to hit objective targets. Areas where your teammates are weak? Train them more or remove them from zones that they will fail. We have some exceptional performers that are artisans. However, they cannot manage another person. So we move them accordingly. 

4) Resilience

Do you deal effectively with inevitable setbacks? Do you transparently admit personal errors? Can you laugh at yourself? Can you admit when you screwed up and not shuffle the blame on other innocent bystanders?

True leaders make mistakes because they are performing in a fast paced world with imperfect information. Decisively forging ahead with their intuition has led them to success and will in the future. When you make errors, call it out. Do not deflect your mistakes on others. It is a rare trait to say, "I screwed up." Employees will be impressed with your transparent style.

5) Ability to Manage Ambiguity, Conflict, Uncertainty and Inconsistency

Life is not a straight line. What differentiates leaders from the average soul is the ability to keep a clear focus on the end goal despite all the setbacks and lack of perfect information. I visited the Gettysburg battlefield with my boys this summer to understand one of the biggest inflection points in U.S. history. What would have happened if the Northern line collapsed and was defeated by Pickett's men that day? Would we be two nations right now?

The biggest take away from our Gettysburg trip was the importance of good leadership and the destruction that can result when leaders fail. The Army of Virginia could have been wiped out that day ending the war two years earlier and saving hundreds of thousands of more lives on both sides. The faulty Northern leadership did not know how to manage ambiguity and let the Southern Army escape. Don't be that General.