The two qualities of top leaders

By: Brian Tracy

There are two essential qualities of leadership. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric says that the “Reality Principle” is the most important of all. What this means is the practice of realism in all things.

Practice Intellectual Honesty
Realism is a form of intellectual honesty. The realist insists upon seeing the world as it really is, not as he wishes it were. This objectivity, this refusal to engage in self-delusion, is a mark of the true leader.

Don’t Trust to Luck
Those who exhibit the quality of realism do not trust to luck, hope for miracles, pray for exceptions to basic business principles, expect rewards without working or hope that problems will go away by themselves. These all are examples of self-delusion, of living in a fantasyland.

See Things As They Are
The motivational leader insists on seeing things exactly as they are and encourages others to look at life the same way. As a motivational leader, you get the facts, whatever they are. You deal with people honestly and tell them exactly what you perceive to be the truth. This doesn’t mean that you will always be right, but you will always be expressing the truth in the best way you know how.

Take Responsibility
The second key quality of motivational leadership is responsibility. This is perhaps the hardest of all to develop. The acceptance of responsibility means that, as Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.”

Win By A Narrow Margin
The game of life is very competitive. Sometimes, great success and great failure are separated by a very small distance. In watching the play-offs in basketball, baseball and football, we see that the winner can be decided by a single point, and that single point can rest on a single action, or inaction, on the part of a single team member at a critical part of the game.

Get the Winning Edge
Life is very much like competitive sports. Very small things that you do, or don’t do, can either give you the edge that leads to victory or take away your edge at the critical moment. This principle is especially true with regard to accepting responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens to you.

Refuse to Make Excuses
The opposite of accepting responsibility is making excuses, blaming others and becoming upset, angry and resentful toward people for what they have done to you or not done for you.

Any one of these three behaviors can trip you up and be enough to cost you the game: If you run into an obstacle or setback and you make excuses rather than accept responsibility, it’s a five-yard penalty. It can cost you a first down. It can cost you a touchdown. It can make the difference between success and failure.

If, when you face a problem or setback, and you both make excuses and blame someone else, you get a 10-yard penalty. In a tightly contested game, where the teams are just about even, a 10-yard penalty can cost you the game.

If, instead of accepting responsibility when things go wrong, you make excuses, blame someone else and simultaneously become angry and resentful and blow up, you get a 15-yard penalty. This may cost you the championship and your career as well if it continues.

Lead Yourself, Be A Role Model
Personal leadership and motivational leadership are very much the same. To lead others, you must first lead yourself. To be an example or a role model for others, you must first become an excellent person yourself.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, be completely honest and realistic with yourself and every difficult situation in your life. Resolve to face the truth, whatever it is. Don’t wish, hope, pray, ignore or play games with yourself.

Second, accept complete responsibility, especially when things go wrong. Refuse to blame others or make excuses. You can tell the strength of your character when you are under pressure. Be calm, controlled and constructive at all times