Young girl at computer
Young girl at computer

The Secrets Of Success: How To Become A Modern Leader


The Secrets Of Success: How To Become A Modern Leader

The concept of the leader is a significant ingredient of 21st century society. Whether it’s found within a football team, the skills section of a Linkedin profile or the Houses of Parliament, leadership provides a solid foundation from which society can grow.

Take leadership away and the world as we know it would disappear. Capitalism, democracy, intellectual praise and technical innovations would be non-existent, causing humankind to revert to its animalistic origins – survival mode activated.

Leadership demands a complex skill set and is only accessible to those rich in a combination of confidence, poise, dominance, respect and common sense. Not only are modern leaders expected to possess the diligence, determination and dominance of their forefathers but must act rapidly and keep up with the continued developments in communications and technology.

At PHD, we recognise the value of effective leadership in the business environment and how a strong leader is the substance of any team. Despite its commonality, leadership is complicated to define and is open to false interpretation, so to help employers acknowledge the capable leaders within their company, PHD presents its essential spotter’s guide to the modern leader.

Target practice - Denzel Washington once commented that “Dreams without goals are just dreams” - a comment so simplistic yet so true. Goals form a measurement for progress and are regarded as essential attributes of the modern leader. A life without goals is a life filled with procrastination, minimal productivity and ineffective time management that ultimately leaves an individual worlds away from achieving their true potential. The modern leader recognises that everyone has 24 hours in their day and the importance of good time management. The rigid framework of a goal allows champions to maximise their productivity and sustain their motivation. Goals are the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.

Always look on the bright side - Positivity is a sure sign of a good leader. Sir Winston Churchill, an advocator of the positive mindset famously remarked: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Being a leader himself, Churchill recognised the importance of mental strength and is famously known for maintaining an optimistic outlook during the conflicts of World War Two – a quality that many believe helped Britain win the war. 

In today’s complex society, what sets a modern leader apart is how they deal with negativity; negative emotions plague the human mind every day, intent on impacting a person’s performance and robbing them of their determination. Studies into brain psychology by the University of North Carolina prove how negative thoughts can confine the attention of the human mind and restrict people in spotting life-changing opportunities. The road to success is thick with obstacles and has reduced even the most experienced leaders to tears. The meaning behind the tears is what defines a true leader because leaders don’t cry to give up, they cry to keep going. 

Risky business - Failure can often be daunting, hence why the majority of society remains content with comfortable living. A recognisable difference between the leader and the everyday-Joe is how they embrace failure. Life is risky but the evolution of society means  that the element of risk has been branded as something to fear, when the reality is that it is the foundation of all beginnings.

Thomas Eddison undertook risk to discover new forms of communication and the mechanics of electrical power generation; Bill Gates embraced risks when forming Microsoft; and Lewis Hamilton took on risk at high speed to become a five times Formula One world champion. What made these people great was their ability to confront risk and use it as a basis to develop their weaknesses. Modern leaders have a different mindset to the majority of people and use failure as a building block for future success. Leaders would much rather fail and be able to learn from the outcome than cower in a corner wondering ‘what if?’ 

The language of leadership - Communication is one of a leader’s greatest assets. With the increase in technological developments giving birth to social media, email, video calls and other channels of communication, the modern leader has to be more communication savvy than ever before. 

Polished communicators prioritise their audience and adjust their manner in accordance with a situation. This flexibility not only allows them to get the best out of their connections but also makes them effective delegators, managers of conflict, motivators and leaders. Therefore it is no surprise why those in the limelight of showbusiness and big business are fluent communicators, who are comfortable engaging with any audience. 

Business relies on quality communications and praises those with the skills to effectively charm, negotiate and talk technical. Adaptability is essential, with communications upholding not only the reputation but the credentials of a business. Hence why at PHD, we tailor our clients’ communication strategy to suit their specific industry across written and digital media.

Changing places – Change often means moving beyond the boundaries of a comfort zone and to many, this is a frightening concept but for leaders it’s a challenge. Unlike the majority of society, leaders see opportunity in the uncomfortable and recognise that embracing new experiences can help them to obtain their full potential, gaining the respect of others. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful approach to political change not only gave India its independence but also inspired a worldwide civil rights movement. 

What differentiates leaders is their ability to work with change and reap the best results. With the fast-paced world of business, modern leaders are required to possess the courage to engineer stability through periods of fluctuation. Robust leaders are the strict governers of change and don’t let change govern them.

Don’t stop me now - Knowledge is power and therefore it comes as no surprise that leaders heavily invest in their education. Whether this is filling their spare time with courses, researching new areas of business or reading around new ideas, leaders are fueled by their hunger for knowledge. For instance, investor and business extraordinaire, Warren Buffet, devotes 80 per cent of each day to reading, which sees him get through between 600 and 1,000 pages! Through the eyes of a leader, every day is a school day.

Respect yourself - It’s vital that leaders respect themselves and their ideas because life at the top can be lonely. Psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck famously observed: “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” Peck’s logic highlights the strong correlation between the degree of self-value and a leader’s capabilities - self-value is integral to the success of any modern leader. With the digital revolution providing an abundance of resources and the competition for leadership positions becoming increasingly fierce by the day, modern-day leaders are required to respect themselves enough to venture beyond their comfort zones. Respect is a two-way street – it has to be given to be received.

Here you go - While some people get their kicks from receiving, leaders get theirs from giving. Whether this is an idea, product or service, leaders operate around the concept of providing value. Steve Jobs, for instance, utilised the capabilities of the internet to improve worldwide communication through Apple and Henry Ford used his engineering instinct to bring the world the motor car. Ultimately, this desire to provide is what creates financial freedom for the modern leader. However, it’s important to recognise that prosperity doesn’t change a leader’s attitude because they understand that life’s meaning is to find their gift and life’s purpose is to give it away. Therefore, it’s no wonder that leaders set up charities, give speeches and invest in educational programmes to inspire a new generation to shoot for the stars. 

What’s your ‘Why’? - A ‘Why’ is a combination of direction and fuel. The direction determines a leader’s aims, while the fuel gives them the energy to push through the hard times. Typical directions include striving towards a better life for the family, obtaining financial freedom or commemorating someone who has passed. Fuel comes in the form of emotion - pain is a particularly popular choice. While commonly perceived as a negative emotion, leaders recognise that pain is nothing more than a temporary emotional state and use it as a motivational tool to power their achievements. Unshakable optimist, Simon Sinek, touched on the power of harnessing emotions through his iconic TED talk entitled “Find your Why”, where he dissects how a strong ‘Why’ can govern a leader’s performance. Simon is a natural leader and believes that someone’s ‘Why’ defines their leadership potential. No ‘Why’ equates to no results.

Click here to find your Why.

Being a modern leader is by far the toughest career path to date, littered with hidden speedbumps and blind bends that make it a haven for unpredictability. To triumph, modern leaders are required to be focused in the classroom, determined when setting goals and not phased by the thought of failure. Leadership is a mindset and relies on relentless determination, persistence and self-belief. Real leaders don’t live life by the book, they live it by a motto:  Do what is easy and your life will be hard. Do what is hard and your life will be easy.

Think you’ve got what it takes to lead the way in B2B copywriting or social media strategy? If so, get in touch via hello@phdmarketing.co.uk or +44 1977 708 643.

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