Qualities of a Successful Leader - Jeremy Teff of Hickory Designs

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Notes from Episode 24 of The Go Rogue Podcast

Jeremy Teff of Hickory Co Designs- @hickorydesign.com @jeremyteff

Almost everybody has a different perspective of what makes a good leader, but irrespective of how you define a leader, that person can be the defining factor between success and failure. According to Ink, eight characteristics of a leader are, “Self awareness, decisiveness, fairness, enthusiasm, integrity, knowledge, creativity, imagination, and endurance.” 

All of these qualities are instrumental in how effective a leader is, but self-awareness if arguably the foundation that supports the rest of the attributes. Being able to look at a situation in the moment and understand there is a lot more going on than you probably know about, is a great way to step back and understand that your perspective is not the only one needing consideration. When a leader does this, it allows them to be more knowledgeable about the decision needing to be made. Plus, when you have a leader that makes decisions confidently it helps the rest of the team follow suit! Furthermore, as a result of a leader being able to adequately observe a situation and make a confident decision, they will most likely be more comfortable being able to take accountability and be able to explain the decisions they made. 

Good leaders make an effort to collaborate with their partners, clients, and community, but most importantly, they collaborate with their staff or team. 

Teamwork with your clients is important but teamwork within your organization is essential. You need your best people working together, sharing ideas, and not be afraid to fall down in pursuit of something new. This means creating a culture of innovation and collaboration.”
— Jeremy Teff

“Teamwork with your clients is important but teamwork within your organization is essential. You need your best people working together, sharing ideas, and not be afraid to fall down in pursuit of something new. This means creating a culture of innovation and collaboration.”

Moreover, anytime you work with a team it is about empowerment and putting teams together based on you being confident that they can do their job and create the vision that you have agreed on. It is important to realize that all team members have a stake in the project too, so being able to talk through ideas is something that allows people to share different objectives. Leaders cannot do everything and leaders will not be good at everything, so it is important to delegate and trust your team because if a leader is pursuing a lot of different skills instead of mastering one, it will take away from the all around growth. Leaders should always be teachable and should be aware of what their specific strengths are. When a leader recognizes they may not have a strength that another team member has, they should provide them with the resources they need to be successful and then allow them the responsibility of completing the task properly. 

One thing to be careful of when heading up a project or company is to not fall in the trap of just being a “manager” and not a “leader.” A manager just maintains the status quo, whereas a leader takes control and takes it upon themselves to further the company to new heights. Just because someone is on the top of the sales chart each month does not mean they have all the qualities to make an effective leader. So, some ways that you can push yourself to be a leader in your industry instead of just a manager in your business is:

  • Trying to stay in the game of knowing what is happening in the industry because things are changing constantly. You want to be sure you are the person who is up to speed and being a thought leader that others look to.

  • Continuing education is huge because leaders need to be creative and innovative and that is hard to do when you are not equipping yourself with the most amount of knowledge possible. This will also inspire the other members of your team to always be learning and growing because if they don’t, it will be easy for the industry to leave you behind.

  • Goal setting is also important because it is the leaders job to maintain goals and the vision for them and making sure everyone is on the same path. Teams look up to leaders, so it is important to be able to communicate with them and also be committed and passionate about what you are trying to achieve.

Overall, it takes a lot combined qualities to be an effective, stand out leader that others will want to follow. They are the ones responsible for being forward thinking while also solving current problems all while instructing those around them. Sometimes, it may seem like some people are just born ready to be leaders and are gifted with all the right qualities, but this does not mean that those who feel that way can’t learn leadership traits or sharpen the skills they already have!


Bryan Fittin