Blog | Entrepreneurship

Business Leadership: How to be a Leader Others Want to Follow

Two Essential Business Leadership Skills for Success

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  • Successful business leaders exhibit two key skills for success

  • Business leadership requires courage, and effective communication

  • Overcoming fear is a critical step in expanding your business leadership skills

After spending about an hour working up the nerve to knock on the door, Robert Kiyosaki finally got in to see the owner of a small tourist trinket store. He was an older gentleman who had seen new salespeople like Robert Kiyosaki for years.

As a young man working for Xerox, Robert stammered and sweated through his memorized sales pitch on the benefits of Xerox copiers; all the man could do was laugh.

“Son,” he said, “You’re the worst I have ever seen. But keep going because if you can get over your fears, your world will be very bright. If you quit, you may wind up like me, sitting behind a counter 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, waiting for tourists to come in. I wait here because I am too afraid to go out and do what you’re doing. Get through your fears and your world will get smaller every year.”

After getting over his fear of selling, Robert joined Toastmasters at rich dad’s recommendation to learn to overcome his fear of speaking in front of large groups. When he complained, rich dad replied, “All great leaders are great public speakers. Leaders of great businesses need to be great communicators. If you want to be a leader, you must be a speaker.”

Today, Robert can speak comfortably in front of tens of thousands of people in convention halls because of his training in sales and his early training from the Toastmasters organization.

If you are thinking about starting your own business, consider learning the key skills rich dad taught Robert to learn.

Business owner skill #1: Overcoming fear

It’s a four-letter word we let control us far too often, possibly without even realizing it: FEAR.

Perhaps you’ve been reading the Rich Dad teachings for years and want so badly to make your first real estate investment, but haven’t moved forward because your uncle’s neighbor’s hairdresser’s boyfriend once lost some money on a rental property. Yup, fear has a firm hold on you.

But know this: overcoming fear is absolutely within your power, especially when it’s tied to achieving financial freedom.

The ups and downs of fear

Fear has its upside. It alerts us to possible life-threatening situations. You may feel fear when you hear a strange noise late at night. Thinking someone may have broken into your house, you immediately take any necessary action. Fear may set in when you find yourself walking alone through an unlit park at night, so you quickly find the safest route out. If you’re driving in a blinding snowstorm, fear will give you the sense to pull off to the side of the road until the storm subsides.

Fear, in many cases, keeps us alive; that’s a significant upside.

Fear is also helpful when it comes to investing. Whenever we enter into an arena that is unfamiliar and unknown, a little fear can be a good thing. It can motivate us to take one extra in-depth look at the numbers on that rental property or to tune in to the special TV report about the industry in which we just bought stocks. A touch of fear can keep us on our toes and sometimes avoid costly mistakes. This is where fear can serve us.

On the flip side, there is also a destructive side to fear. While it can warn us of life-threatening events, it can also be a killer—a killer of dreams, of opportunities, of our own personal growth and passion, of living our life to its absolute fullest.

The harmful face of fear is when it paralyzes us -when we’re immobilized and we do nothing. We say, “No,” to the opportunity automatically, without even thinking. All we can see are the things that will go wrong. When this happens, we spew out all the reasons why the investment is a bad, risky, and unwise venture to undertake. The fear of making mistakes, of losing money, and of personal disappointment wins.

How to overcome fear in life

As you can see, fear can be a powerful force. Fear is natural. Our fearful instincts can help us avoid danger. But that doesn't mean we should let the fear be in charge. Fear may keep us alive, but it can also prevent us from truly living. So it’s a balancing act when it comes to overcoming fear, embracing fear, or learning to take control of fear.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with the ability to take back control from our fear. We can do this by moving beyond what we think we fear and digging down to the underlying reason for our fear.

Here's an example:

"I'm afraid of investing."


"Because I'm afraid to lose money."


"Because I'm afraid that if I lose money I won't be able to provide for myself and my family and we will end up homeless and destitute."

Ah-ha! Now we’ve arrived at the real underlying fear you need to face. Though most people would agree it’s a legitimate reason for concern, it’s not an excuse.

So now the question is, how do we address the real fear so that this person feels safe to start investing so she can begin building her family’s financial future?

Business owner skill #2: Public speaking

If you want to grow your business, you need to be able to speak in front of groups of people—sometimes very large ones—and keep them interested in what you have to say.

More than anything, as written in the post, businessleadership involves being a great communicator, if you can learn to communicate well, you can increase your cash flow, your operations, and your capital. If you can’t, your business will not grow…and will possibly fail. Nothing prepares you better for communicating than consistently speaking in front of groups of people.

In the end, being able to overcome fears and to speak well in front of others makes you someone that others want to follow. It’s really that simple. And if you want to be a successful business owner and leader, you have to be someone that others want to follow.

As rich dad said, “There are speakers that no one listens to, there are salespeople that cannot sell, there are advertisers that no one watches, there are entrepreneurs that cannot raise capital, and there are business leaders that no one follows. If you want to be successful in the world of business, don’t be any of those people.”

If you want help honing your skills in overcoming fear and public speaking, consider looking into Rich Dad Coaching. With a good coach, you will have the advantage you need to stay motivated and push forward to achieve your goals.

Fear is an asset to business leaders

Fear can be the greatest asset we have. Every time fear comes up, and you’re clear it’s not in a life-threatening situation, that means you have the opportunity to grow and expand yourself.

It’s often through the process of dealing with fear that we grow the most. And when you come through to the other side, it’s exhilarating! You are not the same person you were before.

Think of it this way: Fear is how we grow. Instead of dreading fear, look it straight in the eye and know you’ve just uncovered your next level of growth.

Original publish date: March 10, 2015

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