How to stand out from the crowd

January 5th 2016 | Posted by phil scott

How to stand out from the crowd

What makes a successful leader and understanding the top skills needed to succeed

It is safe to say that in life there are born leaders.  There are those individuals that have a natural ability to take charge, give direction, unite a team of people and bring out the best traits in those around them.   Natural leaders are easy to spot from the beginning – they might start out as the captain of the school’s football team but grow to be the Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that it is too late to become a leader.  Not every person that rises to a role of senior leadership fits seamlessly into the neatly painted picture above.  They might not always have been the one that took on the leadership role with ease, but instead they have made a conscious, confident decision to move forward in their working life as a change maker.

To be a truly successful leader in today’s business world requires balance – a person needs to be able to position him or herself ‘just right’ to succeed at the forefront of any organisation.  They need to walk the fine line between pushing forward with single-minded decisiveness and leading while being blinkered to the views of others.  They need to balance the scales perfectly, navigating the journey towards delivering long-term goals whilst understanding what needs to be achieved along the way.

The exact recipe for success is unique to every individual, but there are a number of skills that are crucial to the achievement of a successful leader:

Inspire & Encourage

A huge part of leading from the front is bringing those around you together to achieve a common goal.  For members of a team to feel important, empowered and motivated, they need to understand what it is they are working towards.

The most successful leaders are able to inspire and encourage those around them.  They can present the ultimate goal and keep them motivated throughout the twists and turns of a project.

Take Martin Luther King as an example.  Leading the American Civil Rights movement in the 60s, Martin Luther King was a unique and inspirational leader who was able to unite a massive population and inspire them to continue their campaign, despite the backlash it caused.  His ability to lead through inspiration was remarkable.

Co-operate & Collaborate

Those at the top know that being a successful leader rests on the ability to forge solid and effective relationships with people at all levels.  Co-operation and collaboration is key.  Working well with people, building trust and demonstrating integrity all contribute to a strong and successful business leader.

Remain Cool & Calm

Staying cool under pressure is critical to a leader’s success.  No project is without its ups and downs and trials from internal and external forces.  A leader who can navigate a project with a level head and steer the activity forward with calm composure is a leader who will be admired by those around them.

Evaluate & Take Action

When faced with the need to make decisions, a super successful leader is able to analyse, evaluate and most importantly, take decisive action.  While a leader can and should take advice from those around them, a successful leader is the individual that can evaluate the knowledge around them and use this to make business critical decisions.

Be a visionary thinker

Creating a vision and turning it into a reality is the mark of a strong leader.  What sets apart those at the top is being able to share this vision with others and inspire them.   Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a perfect case here. He took the seed of an idea from college, had the vision and ambition for more and grew Facebook to a multi-million dollar business that spans the globe and has over 1.01 billion daily active users (Source: