Over the weekend, I reread the book by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. Now, this is an iconic classic, especially in personal and business development. The reason it’s been so prevalent over the years is because the message still rings true today. In fact, most of the seminars and workshops I’ve been to over my lifetime have actually included elements of Think and Grow Rich within them. So I’d like to go back to the source, and plus I really find that is just as applicable today as it was before.
One of the things that Napoleon Hill talks about is in order to actually think and grow rich; you must be a great leader. You need to be a leader or a follower. Now, followers everybody … There has to be a group of followers, but followers don’t become successful, leaders become successful. This doesn’t mean you have to be an entrepreneur or a leader into the political space, but a leader within yourself and a leader within your community.
So here are Napoleon Hill’s 11 attributes of great leaders. Number one, an unwavering courage, right. So no follower really wants to follow somebody who’s scared or timid, and a leader needs to have unwavering courage. The courage to step out above and beyond themselves. Now if you’re listening to these daily growth hacks, and actually doing the work, this defines you. You have the courage to go into the uncomfortable zone. That’s part of growth.
Number two, self-control. Right. You have to have self-control to be a great leader. You have to have control of your emotions, control your temperament, control of yourself, so you don’t overindulge in lots of areas, but also control when you’re actually doing business dealings, if you’re a business person and control in your personal relationships.
Number three, a keen sense of justice. Now, this is just really about being fair. It’s actually having an innate ability to understand what is fair and what is not. Nobody wants to follow a leader that’s not fair.
Number four, definiteness of decision. This is just the ability to make a decision. This is something you can exercise like a muscle because I know a lot of people talk, well, I’m just not the decisive. Well, that’s not true, or maybe it’s true for you now, you can become decisive. Becoming decisive is just a matter of making decisions more readily and more often, and that way you build that muscle, you just make decisions. Being a decisive leader allows you to move forward. It also gives the people that are following you a sense of confidence.
Number five, definiteness of plans. Now what he’s talking about here is that you should actually be able to make a plan. This could be a plan for your business; this could be a plan for relationships. This could be your plan to travel. But making that plan and then following through. Can you actually follow through on that plan? Having a roadmap is critically important, but making sure you follow through on it also is.
Number six. This is the habit of doing more than paid for. Right. We’ve talked about this in daily growth hacks. You have to do more than. Right. So you have to add more value to the marketplace, to your boss, if you’re an employee, or if you’re a business owner add a more value than your customers want than they’re paid for. This is a key aspect of being a leader.
Number seven, a pleasing personality. Napoleon Hill just basically say you can’t be a dick, right. You can’t be a jerk and be a great leader. You just can’t. No one wants to follow them. We’ve seen this throughout history. People will follow a tyrant for a time right, but they don’t actually follow them when the road gets rough. Now when that tyrant, thumb is off them, they leave immediately, or they rebel.
Number eight. Sympathy and understanding. You have to be able to sympathize with people in what they are going through and understand their plight. We’re all on a different journey. We’re all the authors of our own story, and you have to be able to understand your followers, understand the people around you, what are they going through, and be able to sympathize with them, having that sympathy. Remember, this is people to people. Understand that everybody’s got a different struggle and everybody’s got a different journey.
Number nine, mastery of detail. You have to be able to get into the weeds and look at the details. You can’t just be a visionary. Of course, you have to have a vision. All leaders do by definition, but you have to also be somebody who can execute on that plan and get into the details and know those things about your business or relationship or whatever it is you’re working on.
I am going to use business as my example here because it’s so clear to me as a business owner, and I coach business owners, that you have to be able to get into the details. You should know your numbers, in your accounting, in your bookkeeping. You should now what your employees are doing, your tasks, everything. You got to know the details.
Number 10, willingness to assume full responsibility. Now, we’ve talked about this before on different daily growth hacks. So the willingness to actually assume that you are taking full responsibility for everything that’s going on, regardless of you’ve actually touched an issue or a problem, you take full responsibility. You’re the leader; the buck stops there. Remember, the stuff rolls down from the top.
And lastly, number 11, cooperation. A leader must be able to cooperate with other people. You’ve got to work well with others or play well with others. Right. Cooperation is a key cornerstone to a good leader and a good leadership.
Now Napoleon Hill wrote this many, many decades ago, but it still applies today. If you look at these 11, what I want you to do is write them down really quickly in a journal and see where you stand on each 11 factors. If you notice that you’re faulting on one, two or maybe all 11, go ahead and make a note of what the next step you can do right here in this moment. The next step you can do to improve those particular items. Right.
I believe you do need to have all 11 of these to be an effective leader. There’s more, in my opinion. But these are 11 key steps to becoming a good leader. Anything that you’re doing whether it be a nonprofit, whether it be a school organization, whether it be a multinational corporation or a political aspiration, you must have all 11 of these traits to be an effective leader or your actual foundation will crumble behind you.
Now once you have those things written down, identify those one or maybe even 11 for you, areas that you need to work on. Again write down that one action step. Put it in your calendar right now. Push pause on this. Put it in your calendar and then come back.
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