How to Be a World-Class Leader (Even if You’re Not Sure You Have What It Takes)

By phildrolet

Nov 17

Reading time: 11 minutes

Growing up as a boy in Canada, I didn’t see myself as a leader.

I was never captain of my soccer team or class president.

I dreamed of becoming a world-class leader but I thought leadership abilities were reserved to an elite few.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wish you could influence people powerfully and bring out the best in them?

In College I tried leveling up by reading leadership books but it didn’t make much of a difference.

Then, in 2011, while doing my MBA in Australia I discovered an unconventional approach that rapidly started producing radical results (note: I didn’t learn it in the classroom).

Since then, my leadership skills have increased exponentially. It allowed me to coach CEO’s, speak at Stanford (about leadership), and build a blog read by millions.

The cool thing is, this method works even if you’re not naturally charismatic, if you don’t have decades of experience, or if you suffer from self-doubt.

As you master it, it will actually help you feel more powerful, walk around the world with more confidence, and stay sharp under pressure. You’ll become the kind of man others naturally want to follow- a true leader.

For the last 2 years, Ive been testing this method with private clients (see results), and now I am sharing this publicly for the first time. 

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The Problem with Traditional Leadership Advice

When I started studying leadership, I quickly discovered all kinds of cool tips and tricks.

I learned to:

  • Use the “feedback sandwich” (ie, placing criticism between 2 pieces of praise).
  • Practice “active listening” (ie, be highly engaged when someone is talking)
  • Consider other people’s ideas (instead of always pushing my own)
  • Develop great eye contact (ie, look into the person’s left eye when talking and listening)

All good stuff. But here’s the problem- these are all tactics.

They will definitely help you improve your leadership… by about 10-20%.

Why? Because they’re behavior changes but not character changes.

They’re like sprinkling sparkles on vanilla ice cream. It’ll look nicer, taste a bit better but it’s still vanilla ice cream.

You’ll have “leadership skills” but deep down, you won’t feel like a leader.

To become a game-changer and a history-maker, we need something more radical. 

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A Radical Approach: The 4 Powers Theory

To become a world-class leader, we need to upgrade the very core of our being.

Our character. Our soul. Our presence.

We need to become the kind of person others would follow in battle (if their life depended on it).

Not because we have the right tricks and gimmicks.

Because we ARE a leader. A force of nature. Someone they trust 100%.

That’s a whole different game, and not the kind of shit they teach in books or MBA programs.

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to reverse engineer what makes great leaders truly great.

And finally, I figured it out. What makes them different is that they have 4 fully-activated power centers (while most people only have 1 or 2).

This enable them to fire on all cylinders, operate on a much higher frequency, and have the kind of magnetism others instantly feel.

Here are the 4 power centers of world-class leaders:

  1. A Big Heart: What makes a leader fundamentally great is that he cares deeply about others. You can feel his love, generosity and compassion. This makes you instantly trust him. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  2. A Big Mind: All the great leaders in history have a lively mind, a big vision and a superb understanding of social dynamics. You don’t need a IQ of 150 but you do need to have a sharp, well-trained mind and a leader’s mindset.steve-jobs-image
  3. A Big Smile: Being genuinely happy and having a great sense of humor are invaluable qualities in leadership. If you bring positive energy to a situation, you’re more likely to influence people.  As Robert Cialdini writes in his seminal book Persuasion, “If people like you, they are more likely to say ‘Yes'”.
  4. And a Big Set of Balls: To become a world-class leader, you can’t play it safe or be a meek little character. You need to be bold, courageous when others are afraid and step into the fire first. As UFC Legend George St-Pierre said, “It’s OK to have butterflies in your stomach. The key is to make them fly in formation”. 

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Why Your Leadership is Falling Flat

The reason is simple. If you’re like most, you’ve only developed 1 or 2 of these power centers at a high level (meaning an 8/10 or above).

It makes for an unbalanced leadership style that doesn’t really inspire people.

Let’s take a moment to do a little self-assessment to see where you’re at.

For each of these 4 powers, I invite you to rate yourself. On a scale of 1 to 10…

  1. How Big is Your Heart right now? (10 = Mother Theresa)
  2. How Big is Your Mind right now?  (10 = Elon Musk)
  3. How Big is Your Smile right now?  (10 = The Dalai Lama)
  4. How Big Are Your Balls right now? (10 = Gandhi)

This is between you and yourself, so be honest.

Your total score will give us an indication of your current leadership abilities.

If I had done this test back in College my score would have been about 23/40 (5, 7, 6, 5). Now it’s much higher.

What is yours?

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Examples of World-Class Leaders

In my opinion, to be a world-class leader you need a score of at least 34 (and a minimum of 8 on each).

Here’s the good news: each of these categories is highly trainable. Whatever your score is, you can radically increase it if you approach it the right way. We’ll look at exactly how you can do this in a minute.

But first, I want to you show example of 3 world-class leaders in action. Watch a little bit of each video, and pay attention to these 2 questions:

What makes that man a powerful leader?

Which power center most shines through?

1. William Wallace (Army leader- played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart)

2. Martin Luther King (Civil Rights Activist)

3. Tony Robbins (Peak Performance Expert)

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How to Build Yourself into a World-Class Leader

Henry David Thoreau once said: “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” This is my favorite quote of-all time because it’s so true.

To become a world-class leader, it’s critical to practice what Stanford researcher Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset“. This means believing that you can improve any part of yourself if you focus on it.

Here are some ideas on how to build each of the 4 power centers. I invite you to look at this as a “choose-your-own-adventure”: choose one category you want to focus on.

But beware: most people tend to ignore the one they’re weakest at because it’s uncomfortable and easier to avoid than deal with it.

I invite you to most focus on your weakest power because that’s the one that’s most limiting your leadership abilities and the quality of your life. 

1. How to Have a Bigger Heart

This is the one I’ve been most focused on in the last year. I’ve realized that a key to life is to use our heart as our Operating System.

Problem is, 15 years of western education made our mind the O.S, and it leads us to be overly focus on cognition rather than emotions.

Reversing this takes quite a bit of work but is one of the most important things you can ever do.

The moment your heart awakens, magic happens: your power increases, your presence deepens, and people become magnetically drawn to you.

(And it’s no coincidence: your heart has a magnetic field 5000x stronger than the brain).

Here’s my recommendation: Every morning, practice Bodhicitta (“Awakened Heart” in Buddhism) meditation for 15 minutes. While most meditation techniques are designed to quiet the mind, this one helps awaken your heart so you can feel more love and compassion in every moment.

Here’s a guided meditation you can use to get started.

quote-bodhicitta-is-the-medicine-which-revives-and-gives-life-to-every-sentient-being-who-even-hears-of-dalai-lama-222458

2. How to Have a Bigger Mind

Being an effective leader requires you to envision a bigger reality (right brain), and to create/execute an effective game-plan (left brain).

Since most of us have a dominant side of our brain- we need to develop the ability to do what Michael Gelb, author of How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci calls, “whole brain thinking” or “genius thinking”.

Here’s my recommendation: Commit to reading or listening to 30 minutes/day of content that will stimulate the part of your brain that’s weakest. For example, if you are right-brain dominant (creative), listen to something like the Tim Ferriss podcast. If you’re left-brain dominant (analytical), listen to something like the Tara Brach podcast.

albert-einstein

3. How to Have a Bigger Smile

The field of positive psychology has now proved scientifically what spiritual masters have known for thousands of years. We can raise our level of happiness through specific behaviours and attitudes.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to become a master at gratitude. It sounds so simple but think about it this way: is the happiest person the one that has what he wants, or the one who wants everything he has?

It’s a trick question-  it’s the 3rd person who has what he wants AND wants what he has (ie, being a high-achiever AND appreciating the journey fully).

The reality is that our society is geared towards helping us achieve more but not really appreciate the journey. To counterbalance that, we need to exercise our Gratitude Muscle every day.

Here’s my recommendation: The easiest way to do this is to write down 3 things you’re grateful for every morning, and write down your 3 wins of the day before bed time. Just focusing and acknowledging these positives will make you feel significantly more upbeat, confident and happy.

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4. How to Have Bigger Balls

Just like gratitude is a metaphorical muscle, courage is something that’s trainable. It’s only as strong as we exercise it. If you want to be extremely poised and confident when the stakes are high, you need to practice being courageous in small situations daily.

Here’s my recommendation: Every morning, take a cold shower for at least 30 seconds. I’ve been doing this daily for 5 years and STILL to this day, I need to flex my courage muscle to step into the cold water at 8am. But every day I’m rewarded by amazing, natural energy (cold showers > coffee) and I go into my day feeling bold, poised and powerful. You can do the same.

wimhof

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The First Step to World-Class

What we’ve just done is an 80/20 analysis to find the one thing that will most positively affect your leadership. It’s the “small hinge” that will swing big doors.

Your first mission, if you choose to accept it is as follow:

Pick the one recommendation from the above section that will most positively help you become a world-class leader and commit to doing it every day, no matter what.

That way, you are guaranteed to improve this one power center and over the coming weeks, to experience a noticeable upgrade in how you feel, perform and lead others.

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The Second Step to World-Class

The first step will help feel more powerful, alive and operate on a higher frequency. Now it’s time to convert this into effective leadership. To do so, there are 3 beliefs I invite you to consider (and install into your consciousness):

  1. Everyone is fighting a hard battle.One of my mentors once said to me: “When you look at other people’s lives, you see their highlight reel. When you look at your life, you see the behind-the-scenes footage“. The reality is that everyone is struggling with some things, all of us are confused at times, and no matter how successful someone is, they’re still trying to figure out life like all of us.
  2. Everyone wants to be lead.To build on #1, because we all struggle at times, we all want to be lead. It feels great to be able to trust someone and get in the passenger seat once in a a while. If you show up with power, presence and purpose, people will immediately recognize that and they will be HAPPY to be lead by you.
  3. The purpose of life is growing and giving. So it leaves us one question: why should you choose to lead? Isn’t it easier to just hide out and follow? Perhaps. But it’s not nearly as satisfying to you, and useful to society. I sincerely that our quality of life is directly correlated to how much we’re willing to grow and give. That’s why stepping up and using our leadership in service to others is one of valuable things you can do for others AND for yourself.

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In Conclusion: The World Needs You

My brother, more than ever the world needs men like you and I to rise up.

There are a lot of challenges in society, it takes strong, caring and powerful men to help bring out the best in everyone else.

If you’ve read this far, there’s clearly a calling in your soul to become a better leader.

Now the question is, are you willing to put in the work?

When you look at the greatest leaders in history, the William Wallace’s, MLK’s Tony Robbins’ of this world, they weren’t born great.

They built themselves up into world-class leaders piece by piece, day by day.

Now it’s your turn to do the same.

Much love,
Phil

PS Please share this post because that ‘s how other men can step up and become the leaders they’re meant to be. 

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