Lessons For Leadership Success No One Teaches You About

By Angela Civitella

Most employees have big dreams of one day having the big title, the corner office, and being able to lead an organization. Industry knowledge is certainly part of the job, but it won’t make you a great leader all by itself. This is where leadership skills come into play, and without having an exceptional grasp of them, your days at the top will be short lived.

HOW DO YOU learn these skills? They aren’t taught in school. There’s no formal on-the-job training about them. In fact, most great leaders will tell you that everything they know about leadership they learned as they went along. Even things they thought they knew proved to be off or not exactly as they expected. It was only after rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty that they learned these lessons by doing.

Regardless of when and how you learn about leadership, if you want to lead an organization and do it successfully, there are things you have to know.

React: don’t sit back

There are two types of people: those who sit back and watch, and those who act. Great leaders watch for less than a second and are quick to take massive action. Always be thinking more about forward motion and less about right or wrong. Remember, in most cases, you can fix a mistake later. When an opportunity is gone, it’s usually gone forever. If being indecisive is something you struggle with, set a time limit. When time is up, force yourself to act. Don’t just act causally. Act with purpose and full intensity.

Stop micro-worrying

Micro-worrying is frantically trying to take care of or control every little detail to the point you actually begin to feel sick. Your mind is racing. Your heart is pounding. Your stress and anxiety are through the roof. Unless you’re trying to save someone’s life, there’s no need to box in your movements by “analysis-paralysis.” Obsessing over the finer details, or the things that are irrelevant and won’t impact the outcome is pointless and will only distract you from what you really need to be accomplishing. Your goal is to do the best job you can do and move on.

Find satisfaction

Human beings have short attention spans. This gets worse when given a task someone doesn’t find appealing. Maybe it’s a long and boring meeting, conference call, training session or whatever else. Great leaders know the secret to success is to add a quotient of contentment and satisfaction to absolutely everything. The productivity of your teams will skyrocket. Your employees will be more engaged, have more fun, and actually enjoy their work. Some people might measure success with money. These days, satisfaction is a pretty high up on the list.

Be genuine

We are so busy connecting on social media, that we have forgotten the true art of taking the time to meet someone in-person to really connect. This was a problem even prior to Covid. As soon as it’s safe to do so, get with people again for a real handshake, a real conversation, and a faceto-face meeting where you can actually have a three-dimensional experience with someone. This is what builds long lasting business
relationships. Let’s go back to being real people.

No overnight success

Tangible success in the beginning is very scarce. What comes in droves is frustration and all the other attitudes that make feeling successful an unattainable journey. Just remember, career success almost always equals hard work and time. People forget to give amply of it and then wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere. Remember, you get out what you put in, and sometimes it feels like it takes more than that.

Neglected connections

How many times have you heard someone brag that they have 5,000 LinkedIn connections, 50,000 Facebook followers and a database of more than 200,000 people? Guess what? It’s all irrelevant if you don’t work those contacts and regularly stay in touch with them.

Be mindful and strategic about keeping a dynamic connection with contacts that can better your work life and life in general. There are different people for different aspects of your life. Be organized about your relationships, and nurturing. Stay on people’s radar. If you’re just a faceless connection on a website, how useful is that to you or anyone else? It really is quality over quantity when it comes to your connections.

Failure doesn’t last

Mistakes happen. In fact, they have a big purpose. I would even go as far as saying mistakes can be better than winning at times. Mistakes bring you to refine your thinking, your plans, and how you execute and deliver your business model. They are meant to give you the necessary pause in your journey to “reset.” So, it’s not about failing; it’s about learning. When you realize this, it takes away the fear and allows you to engage with less anxiety, less toxicity in your system, and have a better mindset about all the moving pieces in your life.

Expanding interests

Has anyone every called you a generalist, as if it were a bad thing? It’s actually a great quality when it comes to leadership. Generalists have a keen mind about a lot of things and are motivated to engage as long as something piques their interest. They are happy to learn something new, always thinking about a more robust arsenal of skills that they can claim as their own. These wonders of perpetual knowledge are always curious about everything and everyone. They never find anything boring. They are always able to get a nugget or two out of something. It might not happen right away, but eventually they will call on that knowledge in a big way and everyone will look at them and think: how in the world do they know that?


Being a good team member is one of the top things hiring managers and recruiters look for in a job candidate. You can be a superstar with awesome capabilities. If you cannot get along with your teammates and do not identify with the work culture in your organization, you might as well bow out and go home because you are of no use. Companies are looking for people who fit in harmoniously, because conflict is usually a drain on employee productivity, morale, and all the other factors that companies rely on to keep their business moving.

Angela Civitella is an executive, a business leadership coach, and the founder of Intinde. www.intinde.com