7 Secrets First-Time Leaders Want to Know

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 10.51.44 PMThe art of leadership can be defined in many ways. There are probably as many definitions of leadership as there are leaders, and each person brings their style of leadership, which is part of what makes it such a dynamic and interesting field. But at some point, most of them say, “I had no idea it would be this way.”

Some even complain that they came unprepared for their roles because schools of management and leadership did not give them the skills they needed to succeed as leaders.

So here are some lessons in Leadership 101:

1. Your character is more important than your competency. More than anything else, you want to be known as a leader who is ethical, honest and trustworthy. It’s important for leaders to be competent and skilled, but that’s not the source of great leadership. It’s your character as a leader that matters most—not only to your team, organization, or venture but also to the world. Without trust, all the competency in the world is meaningless.

2. Your insistence on excellence will be measured daily. As a leader, your standard of leading and doing and acting will be measured daily. Part of the calling of leadership is a commitment to live your life with the highest standards. Excellence matters. It’s a question you have to ask yourself every day: Did I deliver excellence or did I cut corners? Excellence is ultimate measure of success, especially in leadership.

3. Your communication will be welcomed and scrutinized. The finest expression of respect is not praise or status but the willingness to communicate candidly and honestly. It is important to share information, and it will be welcomed when you do. But you’ll also be scrutinized—on how you speak and how you listen. Make sure you communicate in a way that leaves people feeling valued and understood.

4. Your leadership style will be emulated and criticized. As much as possible, don’t give others cause to condemn or find fault with your life and leadership but make your legacy one that inspires others to live their lives authentically and well. Remember, everything you do as a leader sets an example, so be sure the example you are setting is one you want to see throughout your organization.

5. Accountability and responsibility are an irresistible force. The price of great leadership is accountability and responsibility. Their combined force has the power to change the face of people and circumstances. The remarkable thing is that you have a choice every day about how we conduct yourself. Always make those choices on the basis of what is best for the organization. Let people know they can count on you.

6. Developing others is as important as developing yourself. The most important responsibility of a leader is helping their people develop; your success depends on how well you perform this task. Make employee development an important priority by creating a climate in your organization or team where personal growth is expected and rewarded. Great leadership consists of showing good people how to do the work of great people.

7. You need to bring plenty of confidence and courage. Leadership is not easy. There are many challenges, and you will need to be decisive and confident. But you’ll also need to be able to put yourself on the line. The burden of decision making belongs to the leader, and the key to leadership is having the confidence to be decisive. The other essential quality—and the two are closely related—is courage. Successful leaders have the courage to take action where others hesitate.

Especially if you’re starting out, these elements will make the difference between being a good leader and a great leader. Take them to heart just as the most successful leaders do.

Lead From Within: The secret for the first time leader, is knowing that nothing will work until they do.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

buy now


Additional Reading you might enjoy:


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Romario Villanueva

    12. Jul, 2016

    This is very very helpful. For some leadership can be natural and for others they would have to be molded and grow into that position.

    Very useful. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Robson Cartes

    12. Jul, 2016

    Your quotes, knowledge and enthusiasm that you have to develop in people their best capabilities (I feel it) have been in recent weeks a great influence on me. An objective influence, sensible and optimistic. I’m always open to new learning.

    Thank you, dear Ms Daskal!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Shannon Ketelhut

    13. Jul, 2016

    What wonderful advice and it comes at just the right time for me! Thank you so much.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ifeanyi

    18. Jul, 2016

    Thanks so much for this article. I really liked “your leadership style will be emulated and criticized”. This is so true. As new leaders, one of the major things we fear is criticism. But we just have to keep putting ourselves out there everyday no matter what happens.

    Reply to this comment
    • Steve

      17. Jul, 2017

      Well said omoike. More people have the spirit of followership than the spirit of leadership (the fear of being criticized contributes to this).

      Reply to this comment
  5. Paty Peterson

    02. Aug, 2016

    As always, inspirational.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Paul Cofer

    22. Aug, 2016

    Timely and inspirational.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Raghunandan

    03. Aug, 2017

    Inspiring article Lolly. They also need to be emphatic, humane, build a mindset to help fellow leaders, they need to be innovative to provide out of the box solutions, also be creative and inspiring so more followers are developed by them. Really liked the development piece which is very very essential for a leader to develop fellow team members.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Aboki

    23. May, 2018

    Thanks for sharing these. Another one, be nice to people on your way up because you will meet them on your way down.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Pestimony

    13. Jul, 2018

    The position of authority is not to oppress but to liberate. I enjoyed reading your post.

    Reply to this comment
  10. DoItYourselfPestControl

    20. Sep, 2018

    This is enlightening. Thanks for sharing this: Your character is more important than your competency.

    Reply to this comment
  11. BusinessPlanComplete

    12. Oct, 2018

    Thanks for these words of wisdom.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply