You’ll never be a Colin Powell or Steve Jobs or Jack Welch. But there’s something you can excel at as a leader that none of them can.
What is it? I have no idea. You do, though. You know the thing that makes you uniquely you. It’s up to you to turn that into a leadership advantage.
Uniqueness usually comes from a combination of traits. I’m a weird mix of operator (usually data-drive, efficiency-focused, get-er-done people) and communicator (usually anecdotal and chatty). The leadership advantage I’ve been able to mold from that is a lot of clarity in my organization: I have very clear and concrete goals that I talk about all the time to everyone.
Marcus Buckingham, who helped develop StrengthsFinder, said, “There is no perfect leadership profile. Leadership is idiosyncratic. Techniques are not easily transferred.” In other words, while you can learn a lot by studying other leaders, chances are you can’t do what they do.
The what of leadership never changes: set the vision, communicate and motivate, and nurture your people. The how of leadership is almost infinitely variable. Not only are you free to do your own thing, doing your own thing will make you the best leader you can be.