How to Become a Successful Leader

Feb 24, 2017Padraig's Insights

Padraig’s Insights for the week

The Pareto principle


I’m sure you all know about the pareto principle named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection in 1896.

Most people apply it to business, but I want to apply it to something different.

I want to apply it to your career, as the days of the generalist are pretty much over. To be successful I believe that you need to focus on the following:

Develop a core skill, specialise in a small niche.

Become absolutely the number one person on the planet in something. This is critical. The 20% is going to give you the 80% result.

Ideally choose a niche that you enjoy.

Otherwise it’s going to be hard work and if it’s hard work you won’t put in the 10,000 hours you need to excel at it, and your chances of becoming an acknowledged leader are slim.

Realise that in the new age we live in today, knowledge is power. Learn from the best.

Identify your market and your core customers you can serve with your knowledge.

Become self-employed or view yourself as self-employed, even if you’re working for somebody else. It’s all about adding value. The fact that you’re paid a wage every month is just incidental.

Use outside contractors for everything except your core skills.


Habits of the unsuccessful


I have always noticed a number of different habits that seem to keep people unsuccessful. Have a look at the list below and see if you find any areas for improvement.

  1. Waiting for the right moment. Having to be ready to start.
  2. Needing approval from others. Successful people define success for themselves.
  3. The need to always be perfect. As Cohen said, the cracks are how the light gets in. The only way we achieve perfection is by starting with imperfection. What’s worth doing is worth doing well, and the only way we do things well is by doing them poorly first.
  4. Being too stubborn to let go. The number of people I’ve seen hanging on to bad businesses instead of recognising that it’s a legacy. When Edison’s lab burnt down he was delighted and said ‘all that legacy that’s gone, now we can let them go and start anew’.
  5. Not apologising for making mistakes.
  6. Not learning from people ‘less’ than you. My most successful clients are humble and want to learn.
  7. Spending too long worrying about the outcome, not realising that in truth it’s in the hands of the gods and all you can do is move forward and learn as you go.
  8. Comparing themselves to others. As my mum always said, don’t envy a man until you walk in his shoes.
  9. And finally, not assessing your mistakes. Take time to stop and reflect, then notice what happens and change the plan if necessary.

Write down any of the habits that you find yourself engaging in, then write down some action steps that you can take to overcome them. Most importantly, implement them!


The one thing you need to know about great leaders


I read an article the other day by Marcus Buckingham and he defined leadership in a way that I found interesting, because it reminded me of the stockdale paradox and Viktor Frankl’s book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’.

He said the following:

Leaders rally people to a better future. You’re only a leader if you’re restless for change, impatient for progress and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo.

He said that the core talents underpinning all great leaders are optimism and ego.

Leaders may be pessimists or even depressives. Remember Lincoln?

But nothing – not the mood nor the bleak conditions of the present – can undermine their faith that things will get better.

Despite their realistic assessment of present challenges they nonetheless believe that they have what it takes to overcome these challenges and forge ahead.

The key thing about leading is not only that you envision a better future but that you believe with every fibre of your being that you are the one to make this future come true.

You are the one who assumes the ability to transform the present into something better.

This isn’t about egomania.

The effective leader takes his self-assurance and self-confidence and channels it into an organisation bigger than themselves.


The richest man in Babylon


I was talking to my kids the other day about money and I wanted to give them something simple that they could read to help them understand money and wealth and how to take care of themselves.

I came across a book called ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’  by George S. Clason, which is a super book!

I sat down and read it in one sitting and I shared it with my kids and they really liked it too.

So, here’s what the richest man in Babylon had to say for himself:

First, start thy purse to fattening. You’ve got to save!

Control thy expenditure. You have to start saving where you are.

Make thy gold multiply! Keep investing and reinvesting.

Guard thy treasures from loss. Don’t make risky investments.

I’m flabbergasted at all the people out there investing in really high risk stuff with their pension fund! Invest in things that you understand.

Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment. What’s meant here is owning your own home.

Ensure a future income, by building a business that will generate cash flow for the rest of your life or by investing in something that will do the same.

Finally, increase your ability to earn. By always looking to get better at what you do. Upskill, train, develop.


Final thoughts…


Apply the Pareto principle to your career.

Narrow your focus in an area you really enjoy, focus on the 20% of the market, build on knowledge, learn from the best and realise that it’s all about value ad.

Check out the habits of the unsuccessful and see if you can spot any habits you need to change.

The ‘Richest Man in Babylon’ is a great book for you and your kids, I highly recommend it!

10 Things Successful People Do Every Day

10 Things Successful People Do Every Day

What if there was a secret formula for success that you could copy? Kevin Kruse best selling author recently interviewed more than 200 highly successful people to find out what their number 1 secret to productivity? These people included 7 billionaires and 13 olympians. The answers have been distilled into 10 Simple Steps you can follow to achieve your own success.

5 mistakes people make with the DISC profile

5 mistakes people make with the DISC profile

When you are hiring, you need to use more than DISC. DISC is outwardly observable behavioural tendencies. What goes on beneath the surface is harder to read but even more powerful. What if you could see what a person values and is driven by, be it money, status, helping others? How much engagement could you get from your employees if you had this information at your finger tips. Using DISC correctly and in conjunction with the other TTI Tools is essential for your organisation’s success.

3 Easy Steps to Building a Solid Company Culture

3 Easy Steps to Building a Solid Company Culture

Companies need to reimagine how they attract – and retain – employees by giving them what they desire, resulting in keeping them happier and more engaged. I am unique. So is every other employee. Companies would be wise to get to know their employees on a personal level and find out what is truly important to each and every one of them. Then, create a unique plan for each person that helps the employee achieve what he or she strives to achieve.


Join me, Padraig Berry, and Ronan Flood for an in dept discussion where we will give you our best tips to forming highly successful teams.

Some of the topics we will cover are:

  • Absence of Trust
  • Fear of Conflict.
  • Lack of Commitment.
  • Accountability.
  • How to achieve Collective Success.


Pin It on Pinterest

Did you enjoy this content?

Why not share it with your friends?