There’s a big difference between a boss and a leader. Leaders inspire others to achieve excellence, and they earn loyalty by demonstrating critical leadership characteristics. Michael Molfetta recognizes he isn’t always the perfect leader to his ranks, but he’s wise enough to know where he falls short and how to improve. Over the years, he’s used his wins and failures to become better at leading his teams, whether at Molfetta Law or Invictus Sports Management.
In order to recognize your own leadership ability, it is helpful to understand common characteristics among successful leaders. To know where you excel and where you need to improve, measure yourself—or better yet, get input from someone you can trust to be honest with you—against these traits. In this article, Molfetta identifies these characteristics and discusses how to develop them.
Intelligence can best be defined as the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Rate yourself in each of these areas. On a 1 to 10 scale, no one will score a 10 in all areas, but an honest assessment will help you know what areas you need to work on.
Love to Learn
A boss might think they know everything, but a leader loves to learn and actively looks for opportunities to uncover what they don’t know. By asking questions and genuinely listening to those they lead, influential leaders increase their knowledge and thereby build trust with those who follow them. Molfetta encourages this practice in his daily staff meetings.
Believe in What They Do
It doesn’t matter if you lead a small team or a multi-national corporation; to be an effective leader, you must believe strongly in what you do. There’s no faking it, says Michael Molfetta. If you don’t think what you and your organization do is valuable, those around you will sense it and struggle to accept your leadership.
A Capacity for Introspection
The ability to look within yourself and see what kind of person you are is essential to achieving excellence in leadership. Just like you look in the mirror every morning to check your physical appearance, good leaders continually perform a self-assessment to identify leadership and interpersonal skills that need additional grooming. It is all too easy to convince ourselves that no one else will notice the areas in which we fall short—but others always see our shortcomings even before we do. Molfetta explains that his background in sports prepared him for introspection and constructive feedback from peers at an early age. He cultivates a similar environment at Molfetta Law by hiring former athletes dedicated to mastering their work as if it were their sport.
Have a Passion for Those They Lead
Nearly everyone has an innate ability to sense when someone truly cares for them. People want to follow someone they know cares about them and has their best interests in mind. To be a highly effective leader, it is critical to develop a passion for the well-being of those you lead. Once they know you care, they will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you succeed. But, like developing a strong belief in the value of what you do, you can’t fake it. Leaders must put in the work to learn to care genuinely, emphasizes Molfetta.
How to Increase Your Leadership Abilities
Good leadership is a learned trait. To be a better leader, study other successful leaders’ leadership techniques and styles—read the books written by successful leaders—emulate them.
Just like you would develop excellence in a sport, spend time practicing. Practice how to delegate, communicate, and include diverse opinions. To create the passion you need for those you lead, find ways to help them. We naturally develop a vested interest in the success of those we strive to help.
About the Author
Michael Molfetta is the resolute force behind Molfetta Law, a founding partner of CRM Sports Advisors and the CEO of Invictus Sports Management. As a veteran litigation attorney with over 30 years of experience under his belt, he has been lead counsel in nearly 300 jury trials and a legal correspondent for major news networks. Before starting his legal practice, he was the Deputy District Attorney in Orange County and was “1994 Prosecutor of the Year”. Since then, Molfetta has continued to garner acclaim and distinction within the legal field. In 2021, he was named “Litigator of the Year” by The American Institute of Trial Lawyers.