Successful Leaders

Written by

Lana Sheppard

Lana has a passion for learning and personal growth. BizAcademi was created to revolutionize how business owners build a business that creates meaning, fulfilment, and freedom. 

Are successful leaders made of something special?

Successful leaders take charge, can navigate difficult situations with relative ease, and seem to connect with others in a way that most people cannot. They are disciplined, outgoing, communicative, and can manage time like nobody’s business. 

But what underlies their success as leaders? Are there “special ingredients” that make them successful?

1. Successful leaders are always in pursuit

One of the most overlooked aspects of leadership is the constant need for pursuit: the pursuit of excellence, elegance, honesty, and truth, the pursuit of more in-depth knowledge and better results. 

Great leaders are never satisfied with traditional practices, static thinking, conventional wisdom, or mediocre performance.

It is not enough to pursue something randomly, or multiple unrelated things simultaneously; instead, they intentionally and consistently pursue the things that will help them work towards their goals.

Don’t confuse pursuit with goal setting. Goal setting is the act of planning out what it is you want to achieve; pursuit is what happens after those goals have been identified.

The goal setting stage requires the identification of goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound


In this case, it is the goals that are the subject of the exercise. In the pursuit stage, the leader is the subject of the exercise; the pursuit stage requires the pursuer to be:

  • Intentional
  • Focused
  • Consistent
  • Aggressive
  • Unyielding


Oftentimes, one person’s pursuit will enlist others. Pursuit in its highest form is highly collaborative, very inclusive, and easily transferrable.


2. Successful leaders practice decisive thinking

Indecisive thinking can stem from fear – of the unknown, the under-planned, or a known thing that is overwhelming – from a lack of confidence, or one’s inability to directly relate how their decision will contribute to their pursuit of a goal.

All of these things can lead to procrastination or the abandonment of an idea completely without finding another one to take its place; the person gets stuck in a rut. 

Procrastination can be a form of indecisive thinking. Successful leaders don’t procrastinate; instead, they tackle an issue head-on. They know how to get to the heart of the matter. Their constant action makes them more proficient problem-solvers over time. They don’t avoid uncomfortable situations, but instead regard them as learning opportunities, and become better thinkers, innovators, and leaders as a result.


3. They constantly educate themselves

Have you ever run into an old high school classmate? If you did, you might find it interesting to see that some of the most popular, “smart” kids were not necessarily the most successful in their vocation. When students graduate high school, everyone tends to have an idea of what their closest friends and distantly acquainted classmates will go on to do with their lives and successful they will be.

Of course, top students are dedicated to learning and disciplined enough to maintain good grades throughout their high school year. If they cease to continue educating themselves, learning new things and expanding their knowledge, they will have a harder time growing into the successful leader that everyone at school thought they would become.

Successful leaders may not have been the smartest kids in the class by the standards of standard education. One is not destined to become a great leader simply because they had good grades or worked hard (because it’s easy to work hard in no particular direction at all). Instead, those who commit themselves to never-ending personal growth and development will become the great leaders of tomorrow. 


4. They know their “why”

Most people live their lives by focusing on what they have to do tomorrow, or next week, or by the end of the month. Their lives are strung together by endless tasks that never seems to get them anywhere. 

For the most part, successful leaders know exactly what they have to do because they know why they are doing it in the first place. Instead of completing trivial tasks, they make sure that everything they do is related to their goals and the pursuit of what comes after those goals are achieved. 

As a result, they are confident: in what they are doing, in the purpose behind it all, and in themselves and their abilities. 


5. They ask good questions

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, once said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.”

Children learn by asking questions. Students learn by asking questions. New recruits learn by asking questions. Innovators understand client needs by asking questions. It is the simplest and most effective way of learning. Those who think that they know it all no longer ask questions, but brilliant leaders never stop asking questions because they know that there is always something more to learn. 

People are often afraid that by asking questions they will look weak, ignorant, or unsure. They like to give the impression that they are decisive and in command of the issue at hand. They fear that asking questions might show them in a poor light. In fact, asking questions is a sign of strength and intelligence, not a sign of weakness or uncertainty. 

Great leaders are well aware that they do not have all of the answers.

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