Become a Great Leader

Jan 24, 2019

By Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy

No one does anything worthwhile entirely by oneself. As the leader, your job is to get results through others. One of the best ways to get the most out of your people is to treat them like volunteers, as if they were working for you voluntarily—because they are! Just because you pay them doesn't mean that your best people have to work for you. They are free agents who could go elsewhere, and often do.



Since every person is different in some way (often in many ways), the very best leaders have the greatest flexibility in their styles of working with other people. Some people respond best to praise; others need different incentives to get things done. Your ability to get the very best out of the people who report to you is a key measure of your effectiveness as a leader.

The Three Ps of Leadership

Three principles are essential to understanding yourself and each member of your team. Most important, they are the key to peak performance.

1. Purpose: Why does what you do matter to others? Why exactly do you do what you do? Why do you get up in the morning and work at this job, in this company or industry, producing this particular product or service for this particular type of customer? Your purpose defines how you want to help or improve the life or work of your customer.

2. Passion: What turns you on? This question gets to the emotional side of what you do. It is all about what matters to you. While purpose relates to how people view their role in serving others, passion arises when you are doing what you love to do. When you are working at the right job for you, you experience a continuous flow of energy. You like doing your work and learning more about it. You like to talk about your work with others and admire the people who are the best in your chosen field.

Imagine that you were financially independent and you had no limitations on what you could do, be, or have. What would you choose to do even if you weren't getting paid for it? Your answer will often point you toward your passion.

3. Performance: Goals come last. Performance is all about breaking down your dreams into actionable steps for which you hold yourself and your team accountable every day. This is where purpose and passion intersect to get things done. As we learned in our World Success Survey for Success Built to Last, the challenge is to find a balance between your perception of what you must do for the world—your purpose—and your own passions. When you've found those two things, then it is time to create goals and keep score.

Bad goals happen to good people when they set goals too early. Only after you've found something that matters to other people, and something that you love to do, can you be successful at achieving your goals over the long haul.

Having It All

All leaders have to set priorities. Every day is filled with either/or choices. However, when it comes to the three Ps, successful people choose to do all three rather than just one.

You perform at your best when you align your personal passions with your purpose at work. Think about it: There are many different things you could do for others, and you have many personal interests. The key is to find where your favorite cause intersects with your favorite passion. When you do that, you won't have a problem converting that experience into great performance. Moreover, when you can find other people for your team whose purpose, passion, and performance match the job, they become unstoppable.

So ask yourself: Do you know the three Ps for your employees?

To build excitement and enthusiasm in others, you must show how excited and enthusiastic you are personally. Show people you are committed to your goals and to the success of the business. Make sure that everyone on your team is empowered to perform beyond their previous levels of accomplishment.

Dedicate yourself to your coworkers' passions and your company's purpose. Inspire loyalty in others by being loyal to your people and to your business. Build courage and confidence in others by giving continuous encouragement and positive reinforcement.

The adage is true: The best leaders are often ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Great leaders elicit extraordinary performance from ordinary people by tapping into their sense of purpose and their passions. Your ability to bring together a group of people and form them into a high-performance team is the single most important quality you can develop for maximum results and continuous personal and professional growth.

The Future Belongs to Risk Takers

The future belongs to those who are willing to take calculated risks to move forward. As a leader, your role is to carefully gather all the information possible about a particular decision or commitment of resources, and then take the initiative. Winston Churchill wrote, "Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend."

Perhaps the biggest single obstacle to success in life is the fear of failure. Many people are so concerned with the possibility of failing that they play it safe and hold themselves back from taking any chances at all.

The leader is different. One of the qualities of courage is boldness. Boldness is the willingness to initiate action in the face of uncertainty and possible failure. As the leader you must be willing to take action with no guarantees of success and a substantial likelihood of failure, at least in the short term. The leader practices the Wayne Gretzky philosophy: "You miss every shot you don't take."

© 2011 Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy. Adapted and excerpted by permission of the publisher from Now…Build a Great Business! 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market, by Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy. Published by AMACOM, a division of American Management Association.

About the Author(s)

Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy Mark Thompson is a serial entrepreneur who sold his last company for $100 million. He is coauthor of the bestseller Success Built to Last. Brian Tracy is one of America’s leading authorities on human potential and personal effectiveness. He is the author of many books, including How the Best Leaders Lead and Eat That Frog. The two are coauthors of Now…Build a Great Business! 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market (AMACOM, 2011).