Advice That Leaders Will Take To Heart

Individual Counseling Insights From Westlake Village-Based Patricia McTague-Loft

There are all kinds of leaders. Small business owners, whether they have one employee or 100, have to lead their team to provide whatever product or service they provide. Managers, supervisors and CEOs in larger enterprises have to lead teams, divisions and entire companies. If you step and look at the big picture, even parents need to provide leadership for their children — although many parents may never think of themselves as leaders.

If you’re young and ambitious, you may be striving to attain a leadership role. If you’re older and in a position of leadership, you’re probably constantly evaluating your own performance and aiming to do a better job. This last point is especially important, because good or great leaders do not settle for being less than the best they can be.

Noted author, speaker and personal development trainer Jim Rohn writes about the personality traits of a great leader on his website,, saying, “What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective.” He goes on to describe seven ways anyone can keep enhancing their leadership abilities.

“Learn to be strong but not impolite.” Being strong — identifying a goal and pursuing it despite hardships or setbacks — is required to achieve almost anything worthwhile. But how you behave in pursuit of your goal is independent of a single-minded focus on achieving your objective. Being polite to your employees or team members is not just good manners — it inspires people to help you and the opposite behavior can actually drive them to hinder you.

“Learn to be kind but not weak.” There is much wisdom in these bits of advice. This ability requires the strength mentioned above, because dealing with the reality of a situation requires objectively evaluating it. As Rohn says, “We must be kind enough to tell someone the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.”

“Learn to be bold but not a bully.” Success by definition is achieving a goal that is not easily attainable and it most often requires action that not everyone is willing to take. Taking the difficult route demands boldness, but trying to bully people into following you on your bold journey simply doesn’t work

“Learn to be humble but not timid.” Humility stems from a recognition that everyone has different talents and abilities but that does not make anyone inherently better as a person. Rohn makes the case this way: “Humility is almost a God-like word — a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, an awareness of the human soul and spirit, an understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life.”

“Learn to be proud but not arrogant.” Objectively recognizing that you’ve achieved a goal leads to a positive expression of pride — you’ve done it, and a person proud of their accomplishment will almost undoubtedly express thanks to the people who have helped. In this sense it builds a sense of community around the accomplishment. Arrogance marks a person who believes they’ve done it all on their own.

“Learn to develop humor without folly.” This is the simple difference between having fun with people without acting like a clown.

“Learn to deal in realities.” It’s virtually impossible to achieve success if you have not honestly dealt with every step associated with your achievement — defining your goal, admitting setbacks, acknowledging contributions of others, evaluating the end results.

Leaders who want to continuously improve their abilities will recognize the value of Rohn’s advice and find it is a never-ending process.