7 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders

On this episode of THE COMPANY WE KEEP podcast, host Jason Pearl does a deep dive into leadership and lays out the seven traits he believes every leader needs to live, eat, and breathe in order to achieve success.

All right. All right.

Welcome to The Company We Keep podcast. I'm your host, Jason Pearl, and excited to have you with us for another episode today.

So what is The Company We Keep podcast?

This is a podcast for everyday business owners, entrepreneurs, and high performers who want to think differently about growth.

Want to think differently about success.

And want to achieve better balance in both business and in life.

And this episode, we're going to be talking about leadership.

We have touched on this in some previous episodes, but this is going to be the first of probably many episodes where we start diving into leadership, what it's all about, the right ways, the wrong ways, my perspective, things that I've learned along the way and potentially some areas that you can actually listen to this podcast, and you can have some really strong takeaways.

Disclosure here, by no means is this an all-encompassing 20- minute podcast on everything leadership-driven.

I'd be talking into this microphone for probably days if we had to try to encompass everything when it comes down to leadership.

What I wanted to touch on today is just a little bit about my story, a few things that you could potentially take away, and some assets, some books, some people to follow that may help you get on your path to improving leadership.

Or maybe you're a first-time leader and you want to learn more, or you're a seasoned leader and you're just looking for a different perspective.

That's what this is going to be all about.

Let's go ahead and get started here.

Wherever you find yourself, whether you're new in business or, you're a seasoned executive, if you close your eyes and think back to the jobs that you've had or the career that you're in right now, I would bet that you can almost immediately name the people that you worked for that you liked, and you really thought did a great job, or the people that you really did not like working for.

Maybe you even potentially use the word "I hated working for those people."

Because oftentimes, when you are working for somebody, you have a very strong opinion of how they make you feel.

And oftentimes it's either they make me feel really good or they make me feel really bad.

There's never really a, I shouldn't say never, oftentimes there's not a middle ground where you think, "Yeah, they're okay, I don't mind them, they can do things better."

It's normally an opposite end of the spectrum type of feeling when it comes to leadership.

Because you can think about what traits they possess.

How did they make me feel?

What's different that they did that, that others didn't that I liked or that I didn't like. And all that type of stuff.

Maybe when you think about leadership, it's not even a boss that you had.

Maybe it's a mentor that just led you down a path and really helped you out. As you're going through this think about those that you've worked with in the past.

And then if you find yourself in a leadership position this is a podcast that's going to help you potentially improve some of your skills when it comes to leadership.

I have been managing people for the better part of the last 19, 20 years professionally.

Leadership oftentimes is coined or is synonymous with business or an occupation. And certainly, that's where leadership comes in.

But as far as I'm concerned, leadership is something that starts long before you're old enough to start working. Leadership is not just reserved for business.

Leadership is something that is a life skill.

It's something that you are normally going to need to understand to successfully get through the lives that you have here on Earth.


When you go into talking about leadership and we're on this topic, for me, it starts at a very young age.

So in, in episode one, I gave you an introduction as to who I am, what I'm all about.

And I explained that I am a product of two self-employed parents.

Carmine and Joanne are my parents who I love dearly. So blessed to be their son and just be able to talk about the impact that they made at a young age on me, but also the impact that they continue to make.

I'm very lucky that both my parents are still alive.

They're still both pretty vibrant.

My mother lives here in the Western New York area.

My father lives down in Naples, Florida.

And both of them are still engaged in entrepreneurship.

My father has been running a business down in Southwest Florida for the better part of 15 years, and my mother has been running her own PR agency up in Western New York, really specifically focused in the insurance agency for the better part of the last 15, 20 years as well.

But for me, the leadership side of things really started at home.

I think that's really quite honestly where leadership skills are learned or whether positive or negative leadership skills are learned, when you're young.

Because you have parents that you, or caretakers, whoever you grew up with, that you look up to. And really leadership is that there's people that yes, maybe are in charge of you, whether it be occupationally or, for your life as a guardianship.

But that's oftentimes where we get our introduction to leadership. And for me as I had said, both my parents self-employed, so I was able to see them both in a in their professional life, but then also in the personal life.

And my parents were always around.

And the fact that they were always around and they were always invested into what I was doing just really gave me a very good feeling inside, and it gave me a feeling of safety, and it gave me two people to emulate as I continue to grow up.

And certainly, no one's perfect, and no one does anything perfect.

This podcast isn't about perfection because perfection is not a real thing. No one can be perfect.

But for me it started early.

So if we're going to talk about leadership, that's why I had to go back to my parents and where that came from.

When you actually start thinking about maybe early on in your years where the people that you looked up to that could shape maybe some of the early years of your leadership, or it was something that you wanted to do the exact opposite of, " I don't want to do that. I want to do this."

I was lucky enough where my parents, I was able to see them both personally and professionally and how they led, and how their personal life was the same in their business life, and their business life was the same as their personal life.

And that's one of the real core concepts when it comes to leadership: who you are in business should be who you are personally.

So if you are this great person you love people and you want to help out in things like that in your personal life, but in your business life you're cutthroat and you're treating people poorly and things of that nature, you've got an issue that's not leadership.

That you talking out of both sides of your mouth. Cause how you operate as a leader professionally should be how you operate as a leader personally.

That's maybe one of the first things to think about.

Is your business life different than your personal life?

The way you act, the way you treat people, the way you go about just having normal relationships, whether it be business or life, if they're different, you should sit down and wonder and ask yourself, why are they different? What am I doing? Or why do I feel like there's such a need to be different personally in my personal life and I have to be different professionally? So that's one of the things that you should ask yourself.

Also, what I think is really interesting is when people hear the word leadership professionally, they always equate leadership and it to more money.

I've spent 20 years in a sales career.

So normally the way it works in the sales career is okay, you start as a salesperson.

You hopefully make your mark.

And then there starts to become other opportunities to potentially climb the ladder.

And a lot of people start with the sales career and they say,"I want to do this for a little bit, but then I want to get to management so I don't have to keep selling."

And when it comes to leadership and it comes to management of people, you're always selling something.

You're selling an idea, you're selling a concept, you're selling why they need to follow you in all of the above.

People that are in the sales world like I came up in. If you're thinking that it's going to be easy, when you jump into a leadership position, you're sorely mistaken because when you jump into a leadership position you basically now take your team, whoever you manage and you're responsible for everything.

That group, you are now in full responsibility of them: their successes, their failures, their actions, their behaviors, all of that.

So as a leader, you now actually lose control of being able to 100% control the outcome of whatever it is that you're leading them to.

You actually have to collectively invest in each individual person, so you can collectively win or succeed in whatever it is you're looking to do.

I think that oftentimes people think leadership is easy because it means that you have a higher level position with whatever you're doing, and you make more money.

And after leading people for the better part of 18, 19 years, I will tell you that actually leadership is extremely difficult because you can't control things.

You can't just say I'm going to work really hard, and then I know I'm going to get this outcome, because you have other people that you have to invest in and make sure that they're doing all the things individually so that the collective group can have success.

And that's really where it comes, where leadership comes in.

As we talk about leadership in episode two, I discussed my core philosophy of how to get growth out of people. In that philosophy was the three H's: Head, Heart, and House.

And when you talk about leadership being a leader, you first have to understand the type of leader that you want to be and what you're motivated by, and why you are in the situation that you're in.

You have to understand like what's going on in your head, what's going on in your heart, and what's going on in your household so that you're able to understand your motivating factors and what makes you tick, so then you can actually move forward and be successful in your role as a leader.

And then you need to build your leadership style and your philosophies, so you can get the most out of people.


Looking through the lens of leadership, I'm going to throw out seven different traits that are going to help you become a better leader.

In each one of these words, I'm going to throw out, I'll give a little explanation of and again, this is not all encompassing, but this is something that I think if you break these down after this episode and just write them down and then start to reflect upon do these traits show up in your leadership or do they not? Then you can start to formulate how you may be able to improve.

The first trait that I want to talk about, by the way, this is in no apparent order of most important to least important.

There's just seven I'm gonna rip off here and then you can take it from there.


The first one is VISIBILITY.

You say," Jason has a, as a leader, why is visibility important?

I think it's two ways.

So as a leader, visibility is very important.

You need to be visible to your team.

They need to be able to see you.

They need to be able to hear you.

They need to be able to know that you understand what's going on and that you are connected to them.

But when you're talking about being a leader to your team, visibility comes in with making sure your employees or the people you're leading understand that they are seen, that they are seen by you because if they feel that they are seen by you, they feel important.

And that is a critical part of leadership.

You need to make the people that are following you, you need to make sure they understand that they're important.

Because if they don't feel that they're important, then they don't understand and don't think that they are not only important to you, they're not important to the mission that you're trying to achieve.

They're not important to what you're trying to do from a leadership standpoint.


The next one is INCLUSIVITY.

So this means that, you need to make sure that you're including everyone.

So we just talked about visibility being seen and inclusivity is, making sure that everyone is included.

Oftentimes leaders play favorites.

And, I'm certainly sure I have been guilty of doing this before, because that's just human nature.

You find people that you relate to better, you enjoy being around things of that nature.

So you play favorites.

But you need to make sure that everyone's included in your leadership style.

So if you have a team that you're leading, when you do things, when you share information, and when you're talking about things that are important, everyone needs to be there.

I understand that there may be in a professional world, you do one-on-ones and things of that nature, but you need to make sure that everyone feels included and feels like they're part of this process.

Because if they don't feel like they're part of the process, again, they could be the weak link or they could be the oil and the water that's going to make the team dysfunctional or things of that nature.

So inclusivity is something that you really need to focus on when it comes to managing a team.

And oftentimes what happens is, and I see this a lot, leaders are given too many people to manage.

When you were in charge of more than maybe 10 to 12 people, it becomes really difficult to lead them in a positive way to really be invested in them.

So that doesn't mean that you can't, I you could be an EVP of a company or you could be the owner of a company, you're like "I actually have all these employees," and yes, you have a responsibility to all of those, but oftentimes if your company's set up the right way, and let's say you're the CEO, your direct reports are the people you directly manage.

So maybe it's your C-suite or it's your cabinet or it's your board of directors.

Those are the people you're managing. Oftentimes that's not more than a half a dozen people. So inclusivity is something that's really important.


Availability is next.

So we talked about visibility, inclusivity.

The third is AVAILABILITY.

Most leaders that you talk to will say that they struggle a little bit with balance.

Balancing all the responsibilities that they have and things of that nature.

And I know one of the areas that I try to work on a lot is to be available.

So I work with a client now and I have, I worked very closely with the production team, and oftentimes I'll hear " Oh, I know you're really busy."

And I really dislike that.

I dislike that because when somebody says to me, I know you're really busy, two things are happening.

Number one, I'm portraying to them that I'm really busy.

But number two, what that's telling me is they don't think that they're important enough for me, or I have enough time for them.

And that is problematic when it comes to leadership.

You have to be available when you are a leader.

You can't just sit in your ivory tower and just be like, "Email me and I'll get back to you."

You have to make yourself available. The phone rings, you have to pick it up.

Obviously, if you're busy, you can get back to them.

But if you are just ghosting people they're going to have a really hard time following you.

So availability is really important.

Fourth trait that I want to discuss is INTENTIONALITY.

Being intentional.

And this is where the Head, Heart, House framework really plays in.

Because if you want to be a strong leader, you need to be invested and involved in what's happening with each one of the people that you manage.

If it's not in the business world, whether it be a team or something else, that people that you're responsible for, you need to make sure you're intentional with those folks.

You have to have a plan.

You can't just show up and be like, Huh, what am I going to do today?

I think I'm going to do this."

And then you just fly by the seat of your pants.

You can't do that.

There are too many people that are counting on you.

There's too much riding on your leadership to not be intentional about a plan.

And for me, Head, Heart, and House is the people that are reporting to me there I'm responsible for, and in a number of different facets, I take that very seriously and I know each one of them individually.

I know what's going on in their head for the most part, I think I have a pretty good handle on what's happening in their heart, and then I really work to understand what's happening in their household.

That's the intentionality that I bring to leadership with the people that I work with because that helps me understand how to get the most out of them.


The fifth trait is ACCOUNTABILITY.

You as a leader are accountable for everything that happens within your team, and you take the heat, you take on the failures that happen.

Then you pass the praise.

Now that doesn't mean that if you're part of a team, it's like, "Oh Jason and his team achieved this."

Sure. All that type of stuff is fine.

But when you're leading a team, it's the individuals that work with you that you're leading that deserve the praise.

But you take the heat.

When something bad happens.

It's on you.

When something good happens, pass the praise.

Passing the praise is something that will buy you a ton of equity.

And don't just do that because you're trying to buy equity with your team actually mean it, because when you're a leader or your manager there's a lot that's going on and you're responsible for it.

You can't be the one that passes the blame and then takes the praise because actually all that is selfish and that you being an individual, not being the leader of multiple people trying to drive towards an outcome.

So as a leader, you have to be accountable.

You have to take the heat, you have to take out the failures solely on your shoulders, and then you pass the praise when you win.


The sixth trait is HONESTY.

We've talked about this and I've shared some of these things in some recent social media posts and things like that.

Being a leader you have to have direct communication with your team.

You have to be honest, you have to be vulnerable, you have to share what you really feel, because if you white glove it or sugarcoat it all the time, your message is going to be diluted.

There's a number of different people that have said something along the lines of "To be unclear is to be unkind."

I think I quoted Dave Ramsey in a leadership podcast he did with Craig Groeschel.

That's something that really makes sense to me.

I believe Brené Brown also said that.

But it's one of those things where you have to be clear, and I know a lot of leaders that they say, "I don't want to hurt feelings. I don't want to hurt them."

Or "I don't want to say this because it's going to upset them."

But if you're trying to get growth, you're trying to achieve a goal.

You need to be very clear.

Direct communication is important.

And if you did the things above, like understanding what's going on in their Head, Heart, and House, you're gonna understand the right way to communicate with them, but you still have to be direct and you still have to be clear.


The final trait that we're gonna talk about today is EMPATHY.

As a leader, you need to be empathetic and understand what's going on. It does go back to the framework of Head, Heart, and House, but if you actually looked up the definition of empathy, it means the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.

So think about that.

There's so many times where, as a leader, you're having individual conversations with your team or collectively.

You need to relate to them.

You need to understand what's going on.

We're still in the midst of a pandemic, right?

When you talk about personally and professionally, there's a lot of stuff that's going on.

If you haven't shown empathy throughout this process, I'd imagine that there's a number of people that aren't super happy with your leadership style, because there's a lot going on.

And in a non pandemic world, you have to understand what's going on.

That doesn't mean that you're quote unquote "soft."

But you have to be able to have empathy for your team because you have to understand and share the feelings of someone else and understand what's going on.

So those are seven traits that we talked about.

I'll read them off one more time: visibility, inclusivity, availability, intentionality, accountability, honesty, and empathy.

There's a lot more that we can talk about, but when it comes to a few traits that you can start working on and assessing how these are coming into your leadership life and your leadership style, I believe that those are going to help you.

One of the final things that I would say is that an analogy that I often like to use is the analogy where leadership is like this.

You ever have to climb a rope in gym class?

I know I did.

That was one of the things that everyone was like, scared about, like can I actually climb the rope?

You'd go up there and you try to hit the bell at the top of the gym ceiling.

So think about you're climbing a rope.

As a leader, you're probably halfway up that rope, maybe three quarters of the way up your rope, but what you have to do as a leader when you're climbing that rope is you have one hand on the rope and your other hand is extended down.

Because as a leader, you need to always be pulling people up.

Leadership is something that it's not just about you getting to the top of the mountain.

It's about pulling others up with you. Leaders, the really great ones, they make other leaders.

They build other leaders, they build up, they don't put their hand down and drop people.

They hold on to them.

Almost harder than they're holding onto the rope that's holding them up.

You have to consistently pull people up with you because it's so important.

Leadership isn't about sitting in the king's chair or sitting at the top of the mountain by yourself.

Leadership's about building, and if you build others individually, you're going to get growth as a group.

And so I always love that analogy.

And just think about that when you think about your leadership style, because leadership isn't about power, it's responsibility, and it's a super heavy weight that if you don't do it the right way, is gonna really hold you down.

And that's what we're all about on this podcast, The Company We Keep.

It's about building better people.

We all have a ton stored inside of us.

We all can achieve more and do those things.

And that doesn't mean just like business life.

We are here, we're set on Earth with a very distinct mission and gift.

And it's about building people up.

That's why we talk into this microphone every week.

That's what this whole thing's all about.

And I want to help empower you to empower others.

If you like this episode, I really hope that you connect with me, and shoot me a note.

We're going to talk a lot more about leadership, but a few things that I want to leave you with is we talked about those seven traits.


I also want to leave you with a few resources and books that I've read that have made impacts on me when it comes to leadership.

I know some of you are, voracious readers.

The first leadership motivation business book, I read it was referred to me by a great leader that helped me and mentored me young in my career, his name was Kyle Fenton wonderful guy, the book that he referred to me.

When I was 22 years old, getting ready to take on my first leadership position was John C. Maxwell's 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader.

It's a short read.

You could basically read it in a day.

It's so digestible and I love that book.

I still recommend that book to this day and it was written in 1999.

Second book which had a big impact on me was Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.

Great book really lines up with my personal philosophy of head, heart and house.

I'm a big fan of Simon Sinek.

Think that you guys should totally check that out.

The third and final book is a book off the beaten path, but it's a book called The Accidental Executive.

It's a leadership book, but it's a faith driven leadership book based on the trials and tribulations of the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

I read that three years ago really enjoyed it, had some individual conversations with the author through LinkedIn, I just wanted to tell him I really enjoyed his book and wanted to share that with you guys.

There's three books that maybe has takeaways.

You can check out as well.


So I know we ran a little long on this podcast and I appreciate you guys sticking with me.

There's so much to talk about when it comes to leadership.

And we're not done yet. I'm loving spending time with you guys.

I really appreciate.

It means so much the reviews that I'm reading and in the encouragement that you're all giving me with this podcast, I'm just so encouraged to keep this going.

And I really appreciate all that feedback. We're six episodes in.

We have one every Tuesday, so there's so much more that we can talk about.

But if you want to engage with me, if you want to communicate with me, visit JasonMPearl.com, that's my website.

There's ways that you can connect with me.

There's ways that you can comment with me. I just would really love if you could visit and follow me on the socials and do all that type of stuff.

Cause I'd love to keep the conversation going.

I'm honored that you're here.

If you haven't already subscribed to The Company We Keep podcast on whatever platform you listen to your podcasts on, I really appreciate you hit the subscribe button and if you feel so inclined, drop a review.

But thanks again for listening.

There's so much more to come and so much more to unpack.

My name is Jason Pearl.

This is The Company We Keep podcast.