February 16, 2022 | 3-minute read (461 words)
"Leaders are made, not born," NFL coach and executive Vincent Thomas Lombardi once famously said. This is good news for aspiring leaders, since it implies leadership is a skill to be learned rather than an innate trait.
According to Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton, strong leaders always share four characteristics: they are passionate, persistent, purposeful and endeavor to employ and work with excellent people. She believes that by embodying these four P's, leaders can effectively traverse any issue.
Jenny Johnson describes the four P's of leadership as follows:
People: Leadership begins with individuals. Great leaders are brave and they like to be surrounded by people smarter than they are. They insist on hearing opposing points of view; they dislike yes-people!
"As a leader, I'm only as good as the team I put together and they're only as good as the team they put together,” says Johnson. Motivate, mentor, coach and encourage teamwork with a fantastic leader. Outstanding leaders are incredibly loyal, have a solid emotional bond with their colleagues and a high degree of empathy, allowing them to handle change with ease.
Purpose: "As a leader, I talk about what I do in such a way that resonates with my people and that they can rally around," says Johnson. A vision, a mission, an idea, a calling or a passion are all examples of purpose. The most exemplary leaders have a strong sense of purpose that guides their relationships and actions, like a North Star.
Passion: Do what you're passionate about and you will never have to work a day in your life. "If you don't love what you do, you are never going to be able to compete with somebody who does,” Johnson says.
You can't be an effective leader if you don't care about what you're doing. Passionate individuals like what they do, and it shows in how they interact, enjoy and care about others. They infect others with enthusiasm and inspire others by personal example. They are influential leaders because they have a strong sense of purpose and a strong sense of confidence. These leaders dare to create big ideas and goals, inspiring their teams to accomplish them.
Persistence: Everyone fails sometimes. The way exceptional leaders respond to failure is what distinguishes them from mediocre leaders. Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times before discovering the light bulb's socket, filament and wiring. Leaders never give up; they always find a new method, a new contact, a new road and a new point of access.
Even the most passionate, purposeful and persistent leaders may confront financial and resource roadblocks, conflicting agendas and adverse external events. But the finest leaders tackle failures with a ferocious resolve, knowing that nothing worthwhile can be attained without effort and hard work.