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Leadership is much like anything else in life. There may be those born with some innate traits that can help them succeed as a leader but ultimately the best leaders will be those who work the hardest at developing those traits and skills. In fact, in the contest between innate traits or skills and hard work and discipline, hard work and discipline will win out every time. Here are three disciplines every leader needs to develop.

Embrace Dichotomy

Leaders need to know when to take a step back and think carefully through a situation and when to act quickly. They need to know when to go easy on their people and when to ride them hard. They need to know what situations (or people) require a very hands-on approach and which require a hands-off approach and they need to be able to deliver both. They need to know when it’s time to be fully available and when to purposefully make themselves scarce so their people can grow.


The more capable a leader is, the more demanding those around them can become. On the one hand, it can feel good to have so many people relying on you, yet the pressure can also become crushing. It is important for leaders to remember that they are only human and they have needs too. Unplugging means something different for everyone. Some people just need a quiet place to meditate while others need time to escape back to nature. Whatever your individual needs are, it is important to create space to get them fulfilled.

Leadership Is Often Counterintuitive

We’ve all heard the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and the problem is, it generally does. What no one really stops to consider, however, is whether or not the squeaky wheel genuinely needs the grease the most. Great leaders learn to look beyond the obvious or give in to the loudest demands. Sometimes, it’s the wheel that’s gone completely quiet that needs the most attention. Great leaders have to learn how to silence the noise and stifle the urge to do what is most intuitive to see what’s really going on.