Leading isn't about always being your best but it's always about giving your best. This rule hasn't changed since the beginning of time.
People don't expect leaders to be perfect. They just expect them to push themselves to become better daily. If you look around at business executives, professional athletes, ex and current military personnel, you'll see commonalities between them as leaders.
They work. They fail. They work more.
They work so much because they know there's someone else out there who's grinding to take their spot.
Great leaders have a bias for action and display it every day. Everyone is born into different circumstances, with certain gifts and opportunities afforded to them. And these can equate to certain levels of success, but there's one great equalizer.
It's called effort.
If you think people are born with the skills to become great athletes or business executives you might be right. However, if you ask any of these people what made them successful they'll attribute it to their work ethic.
Author and motivational Speaker Brian Tracy says, "It may be true that there are such things as natural born leaders, however, most leaders are made by hard work and self-development."
As a leader, it's your responsibility to put effort into your business in several ways.
You need to make an active effort to listen to your team
Being an active listener takes active effort. When someone on your team is presenting an idea or asking you a question you need be completely present in the conversation. When you make an effort to listen to your employees they'll feel safe, heard and in a better place at work. Listening doesn't mean you have to agree with everything, but it means you have to hear, internalize and make the appropriate judgment on everything.
You need to be willing to roll up the sleeves
There are a lot of idea people in the world and very few doers.
You need to keep it moving forward at your business. You may not always be headed in the perfect direction but be willing to put your foot on the gas and go somewhere.
You are not above any task at your business. And you should be willing to do any task, especially if the business is in a crunch.
You need to put effort into your development
The path to becoming a better leader is never ending and you need to stay the path. As a leader, you need to push yourself to learn new skills, be more empathetic, and an overall more complete person.
There is no one leader who has it figured out or is flawless.
Everyone has flaws; as a leader it's your job to work on yours.
You need to put the most effort in at work
This doesn't mean you need to work 14-hour days. However, it does mean while you're at work that you get the most out of your 8-10 hours. When your team sees you doing meaningful work in the course of eight hours it will motivate them to do the same. Productivity is contagious.
Regardless of natural skills or what situation you were born into there's one thing that you can control. That's effort.
The four points above aren't reserved for the business elite, they're points you can directly benefit from on your path to becoming a more complete leader.