Here are some thoughts to ponder:
1. The best leaders are “reluctant leaders.” Steer clear of those who never want to lead and those who always want to lead. Look for those who don’t seek leadership roles, but who naturally emerge as leaders when the situation requires it. They tend to have that rare combination of competence and humility.
2. Life really is a zero sum game. Beware of those who tell you otherwise. They’re just trying to get into your head. Not everyone gets the job, or the raise, or the promotion. Not everyone gets a fair shake or a decent chance. That’s life. But maybe you can offer someone a fair shake, or a decent chance, or some measure of hope. And maybe you should.
3. Never emphasize teamwork for the sake of teamwork. You need a better reason than that. If you can’t explain in 10 seconds why you need a team to do something, then you probably don’t need a team to do it. In that case, you’re better off without a team.
4. The greatest barrier to effective communication is that no one is actually listening to you. That’s why your first sentence needs to get people’s attention. Remember the professor who always started the term by saying, “look at the person to your left and to your right because one of you isn’t going to be around at the end of the term”? Make your first sentence an attention-grabber.
5. Never assign an optimist to advise you about risk factors. Always look for the person who can tell you “why the plan is going to fail.” It’s not a character flaw. It’s a super-power. Leverage it.