Conveying the seemingly intuitive business sense that comes from years of experience is a leadership trait that cannot be had by any other method than experience. Closely related to the gaining of experience is that business leaders have learned to take initiative. Without initiative they would not have learned some tough lessons along the way that, in essence, is what experience is all about.
They do not simply wait for things to happen to them. They live at cause rather than at effect. They make things happen. They are not afraid of making mistakes and therefore make the necessary decisions to get things done. I’ve been working with a widow of a man who started and grew a large distribution company. While he was a true leader and built a substantial business, she has never had to make any decisions, until now, as she’s now in control of the business. And getting her to make decisions is a pain-staking process. She’s afraid of making mistakes and afraid to take responsibility for the decisions she has to make.
Living life on life’s terms is not all that amenable to true leaders. Certainly, there is no way to avoid that fact, but leaders see the obstacles for what they are – opportunities – and deal with them. In a natural disaster these guys would not sit around and wait for someone to come rescue him or her. They would do what they had to do to survive and would probably save a lot of other people in the process. Frankly, as an advisor to these leaders, I appreciate this character trait. It is much easier to guide a stallion than it is to kick and pull a mule.
So, I encourage you to adopt the attitude of “so what if I make a mistake…at least I’ll learn something and at least I’ll be taking responsibility for myself and taking initiative.” And, over time, you’ll learn to anticipate life’s surprises so they won’t catch you off guard.
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