When it comes to being a leader who is not only successful, but respected, traits such as tenacity are at the forefront. There's an exhaustive list of notable traits, but each of the traits comes down to doing the right actions.

Successful leaders such as Richard Branson, LeBron James, John D. Rockefeller Sr., Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos are individuals who have established personal philosophies to help them navigate the trajectory to success.

Speaking of the latter, Jeff Bezos at a New York gala for global nonprofit FIRST, was asked about the advice he gives to any young person including his kids. Those eight words were "be proud of your choices, not your talents."

In the CNBC report published in November, he went on to state:

"You can be happy about being handsome or being good at math. But the innate traits you've been born with shouldn't boost your sense of self-worth. Your work, however, is something you can be proud of. That's a choice. When you do that well, it will lead to your success. By applying yourself, you can make the most of your talents and really set yourself apart. When you have a gift and then you work hard, you're really going to leverage that gift,"

While in the report, he's discussing kids getting started with their career, these eight words are pivotal to succeeding as a leader also.

Actions are your most powerful currency

Every corner you turn, there's advice on how to be a better leader through the implementation of some tactic or acquisition of a skill. However, there isn't any need to make the process of becoming a better leader more complex than it needs to be.

As a mentor continually reminds me, leadership comes down to basic human behaviors. And these basic human behaviors are all about your choices, not some unique talent.

In fact, there's one simple habit that will immediately provide a high return of investment. 

Actually listen and implement

Odds are, you're talented, supplied with ample experience, and possess great intelligence. However, with these attributes comes a potential trap that I've fallen into early on.

That trap is the "know-it-all" complex. Since I'm in charge, I figured I knew more than everyone else and when I operated under this notion, getting others to buy into the vision was difficult. Even when I asked questions to others, it was more of a formality than anything else.

As you're seeking to refine your leadership skills, are you truly listening to others or are you asking questions just because?

Though you're asking questions and seeking feedback, that isn't enough. People aren't going to judge you and work harder for you by what you say. They will go to battle for you once they see that they're truly prioritized on the hierarchy.

This simply starts by not only gathering feedback and suggestions, but then implementing on that information given to you.

Whether in business, sports, fitness, or any endeavor--being the most talented person isn't a guaranteed victory. Without the right choices, that talent won't be guided in the right direction.

Published on: Nov 30, 2018