We live in an ever-changing world. A world in which the largest taxi company does not own a single vehicle. A world in which the largest media company does not produce media content. A world in which the largest department store does not sell its own products. We live in an era of disruption, an era in which the only rule is that there are no rules. Proof of that is the Fortune 500. A whole 40% of the companies that were on the list in the year 2000, were not on it in 2016. Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Netflix have taken the places of Nokia, Blackberry, MySpace and Blockbuster, which have held the primate as market leaders for decades.
What is a leader?
In this world of constant changes, we also need a new definition of what it means to be a leader. Before I made this video, I opened Webster’s Dictionary and looked up the definition of leadership and I was honestly astounded by what I read. According to Webster, a leader is a person who commands an army or a person with great power and authority. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion this definition is outdated and it definitely does not apply to the times we live in. That is why I decided to create my own definition, based on my six years of experience as an owner of an international creative agency. Yes, I believe that every leader has both power and authority, but most of all, I believe that a leader is a person who helps others obtain the best version of themselves. That is not a person who imposes or promotes his/her own opinions or way of life. A leader is simply a person who sees the true potential in people and helps them achieve it. Most importantly, a leader is a person who uses his/her own emotional intelligence to make a positive change in his/her own environment and in people around him/her.
What is success?
I will be honest with you, emotional intelligence, unfortunately, cannot be learnt from books. Yes, there are millions of articles about emotional intelligence, countless books have been written. At the end of the day, we live in an era when we are all focused on one word – SUCCESS. We read articles everyday on how to become successful, what successful people do over the weekend, what are the 10 things that will make you successful and many other titles, which aim at directing you towards success. The question we should all ask ourselves is whether these signs and books help us taste success, or do they just draw us away from it. This is the exact place where my first rule on emotional intelligence comes in. Let me mention once more, all things that I will list in this video are based on my personal experience and they may not be applicable in your life. My goal is to inspire you, and it is up to you to find your path and walk on it.
I believe that people who are emotionally intelligent create their own definition of success. I don’t think they look up success on Google or search for the 10 rules of success. On the contrary, all people who are successful today and who are our inspiration are actually people who have created their own definition for success and have not abided by the rules given in books, textbooks and other tools that offer a solution for success. Honestly, I don’t believe that Steve Jobs read articles about the 10 things successful people do to be successful. He, like many other leaders, followed his own intuition and heart. And that is why today he has his status.
Do not compare yourself to others
The second thing that I find as important, especially for those looking to make a positive change in our world, is not to compare yourself to others, i.e. not to try and walk in the steps of others, but to find and go through our own path. Comparing yourself to others only takes us away from our own goal and it makes finding our own mission more difficult. At the end of the day, why would I want to be the next Steve Jobs, when I can be the first me, the first Kosta. It is my, your, our goal to change the world with the things that we currently have, and not with the things other people have. The time you realize that you have everything you need to succeed is the time when you will be able to feel the taste of success for the first time. The truth is that we should focus of what makes us special, and not what others have and we wish to have.
Leaders live and breathe their vision
I believe the leaders have a very clear vision and they communicate that vision every day. They integrate their vision in everything they do and that is why they are so successful. They breathe their vision. They live their vision and they never, under any circumstances, give up on it. Every day I work with a lot of companies and it really surprises me when the company employees do not know the mission or the vision of the company. How can we expect to be successful if you do not know the end goal of your work? How can you expect to be successful if you not know what kind of change you want to bring to the world? I am also surprised by some people’s answers when I ask them what their function is in the company they work for. I am an HR manager, I am a banker, I am a marketing expert, they’ll answer. Yes, that is their function, but that is only a one dimensional view of the function, without truly understanding the vision of the organization. You are not just a banker, no, you help people in their worst moments, when they need financial help, when they are working on their dream. You are not just a marketing expert, you are a person who helps buyers change their lives, see and feel the beauties in life, feel happiness. There is no point in trying to achieve something if you do not understand your own vision and mission. However, it is not just about understanding it, you must also believe in it and constantly work on it. Most importantly, you shouldn’t allow others to impact your vision.
There is one very good scene in the Steve Jobs movie, with Ashton Kutcher. Briefly, Steve tells his team that for the new version of Apple he wants to have a wider font selection. After a few months he goes to a meeting and the head IT tells him that fonts aren’t important and that there are other more important things. Steve fires the manager then and there. When they tell him that he fired the best manager in the company, his answer is – I fired the best manager who didn’t believe in the vision of this company.
Leaders work on self-improvement everyday
People nowadays are overly focused on believing in themselves. Yes, that is important. It is a great start, but I believe it is not enough. Leaders believe in themselves, but they also work on themselves every day. They do not stop at every success they achieve, rather they continue moving towards the next one. So, believe in yourself, but also work on yourself constantly. Learn, fall, rise, experience success and also experience failure. That is the only way in which we can create what some define as happiness.
What will happen if you give up?
People with good emotional intelligence know when to continue and when to give up. You know, today the focus is on ‘don’t give up, you can do it, hang in there’. There is a lot of truth in that, but I believe it is a fine line between persistence and stubbornness. From what I’ve experienced so far, I believe that when we come across a difficult situation and we feel that we cannot continue, we should give up if the success is directed only towards you, towards you own, egotistical needs. Never, absolutely never should you give up if the success is aimed for the whole team, for the good of all. Ask yourself ‘what will happen if I give up?’ If the focus is only on you, then you are doing something wrong, but is the focus is also on the people around you and their dreams and ambitions, then you should definitely do your best to succeed.
True leaders see the big picture
True leaders look at the big picture and they do not focus on the little, everyday things. They know that each chaos has an expiry date and that the truth is that any challenge can be overcome and resolved one step at a time. That is why they are successful. They do not panic unnecessarily and they know that there is no such thing as a negative experience, just a lesson learnt.
Leaders always take responsibility
Emotionally intelligent leaders always take responsibility for what is happening to them, to good things and the not so good things. It is an unwritten rule that success is common, but failure is always the responsibility of the leader. They know to apologize when they’ve done something wrong. They know that a wrong decision does not mean that does not mean that you are a bad person, on the contrary, it means you are human. Just look at the biggest company crises in the last several years. The companies that survived are the ones that apologized for their mistakes. Leaders who have shamelessly said ‘I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake’. The ones that were unable to accept the reality of forgiveness have lost their jobs a long time ago and the truth is that today’s business world has no place for them. Today, we actually live in an era when we develop strategies for forgiveness, and not profitability.
Leaders do not expect to be loved by everyone
The most difficult lesson to learn is that true leaders do not expect to be loved by everyone. When I started my company, I expected everyone to love me; to love me because I did not make the mistakes that the managers before me had done. I was wrong. It is impossible to be loved by all. What you must work on is being respected. And the only way to learn how to be respected is for you to live out your vision every day.
Leaders can estimate the team’s capacity
Also, what makes emotionally intelligent leaders different from the other is the fact that they have the ability to assess the capacity of the people surrounding them. They know what each team member is capable of, they know who can stand pressure, and who cannot, they know who are responsible and who aren’t, but, most importantly, they know how to assess who they can count on in tough times, and who they cannot count on.
Leaders do their best
To wrap things up, successful people do not waste their time looking for balance, rather they invest their best effort in everything they do in life, and that is exactly why they are successful.
I would like to end on the following note – your success, my success, is neither defined by my company or by how much money I’ve made, nor by the status I hold in society. Actually, success has nothing to do with it. Success is going to bed at night certain that you have done your best in creating the best story for yourself. That alone truly is success.