What Epitomizes a Strong Leader?


What makes someone an effective leader? Does their tenure at a company classify them for leadership? What about their title?

As simple as this question may be, the variations of the answers continue to vex some of the best thinkers and business leaders within both the private and nonprofit sector. The reason why so many people have trouble describing leadership is because the answer is both simple and complex at the same time. Leadership itself does not have that one size fits all definition like other descriptions do. Instead, it encompasses a variety of characteristics, examples, and knowledge that make up this star individual. While instances of leadership can vary between situations to situation, the underlying impact that a leader can have on a group is something that is noteworthy, especially within the field of business.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

When it comes to identifying leadership, you can start off by what you already know. In this case, you can begin by understanding examples and reasons of what doesn’t make a leader. First and foremost, a leader is not based on the seniority and hierarchy of their position. While personal titles do exemplify your overall professional success of an individual, it does not automatically solidify you as a leader or game changer in your organization. Nor do personal wealth or management styles provide that title for leadership. Instead, a leader is an influencer. They are visionaries who spark action amongst their employees and inspire others to challenge the antiquated system in order to reach their objectives and goals.


While this may sound demanding, today’s business professionals are looking for those individuals who can drive that high level of success. They want committed lifelong learners that are willing to foster and cultivate that efficient and consistent work environment with the utmost confidence. For this to happen, a leader needs to have these following professional skills perfected:

  • Communication: Having strong communication, especially across a variety of different networks, can aid the overall logistics and operations of a business. A good leader must possess outstanding communication skills and communicate the company’s vision, goals, and products in the simplest ways possible.
  • Build Teams: Putting together a strong team that can work effectively and efficiently is a strong sign of a good leader. To optimize this, a leader must understand each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. From there, the leader needs to know how to leverage and optimize the best from their works each and every day.
  • Risk Taking: While this may not necessarily be one of the biggest concepts people talk about when they discuss leadership, risk taking is something that is absolutely necessary if you want to develop as a leader. The act of inspiring your employees to go above and beyond their job description will show how influential you are to your team.
  • Vision and Goals: No matter what field you are specializing in, a great team depends on its leader’s vision and goals for the future. Even if they are short-term objectives, goals are what motivate people to go above and beyond the standard. In order for you to be a great leader, you need to be able to articulate your goals in the most inspiring way. This will in turn impact your workers to perform at the highest level.


At the end of the day, a leader provides an inner sense of drive and commitment for their company. They are the ones who know how to optimize their strengths of their workers and leverage the weaknesses of their organizations. They are the people that, no matter what the situation, you can count on.

While the definition of a strong and transformative leader may vary, these individuals encompass similar traits that make them stand out amongst the crowd. These are candidates who have integrity and honesty. They see people as human beings and try to inspire and encourage them to move to the next level. These are individuals who are confident. They know how to make those hard-hitting decisions, but are methodical in their thinking. Last but not least, these are individuals who are positive. They understand the high moments and the low moments and the necessary steps to improve morale.

In any type of business, regardless of the field, having numerous leaders will be the huge factor in the overall success of your company’s future. To ensure you have the right people, take a look at three additional qualities and traits that go beyond the standard list of what we already know about great leaders.

  • They Know Your Organization, Inside-and-Out: Effective leaders know the business’s overall purpose and goals. They understand the agreed-upon strategies and know their role in the overall big picture. Having this level of understanding will play a bigger role, especially when moving forward with the company.
  • They Reflect: An important role in being an effective leader is periodically looking back at their own personal strengths and shortcomings. This type of internal reflection is something that forces them to dichotomize their strengths and weaknesses as an individual. Knowing these types of abilities will allow them to delegate, improve, or leverage their skills in the most optimal way.
  • They are Responsive to the Group: Being perceptive and astute can help a leader be more effective in knowing the strengths and weaknesses their teams. This ability to hear, see, and comprehend their workers daily operations gives them strategic and effective ways to perfect any misaligned notions that can compromise the momentum of the group’s goals.

Knowing the Numbers to Evaluate Your Business’s Financial Health


The beginning stages of any entrepreneurial life are always filled with obstacles, hesitation, and uncertainty. While many news headlines, shows, and 30-Under-30 listings create an idyllic stereotypical image of a young CEO with thriving company, the harsh reality is actually quite shocking. Statistically, 90% of all startups tend to fail. While there can be a variety of reasons of why so many startups tend to fail, such as lack of management or lack of public interest, the main reason can attribute to the fact that their business leaders do not look at the numbers.

When running a business, you need to make sure that you are internalizing the overall value of your company. By understanding the financial health and financial position of your company, you will be able to move your business to the right path for the future. Many business leaders assume that because of their success from the previous months that their business is growing, if not stable. This is a huge mistake. Regardless of where your company stands, make sure you know your numbers. As we enter into a new year, you want to make sure you are gaining a strong stance over your finances. This type of organizational understanding will give you the ability to outline your personal and financial goals while additionally altering any necessary steps so that you can further better your company. One incredibly beneficial way to do this is by analyzing your company’s balance sheet.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Warren Buffet


A balance sheet is the primary financial tool for assessing the relative financial health of a business at any given point in time. Oftentimes, this is referred to a snapshot because it provides a business leader with a clear and accurate picture of where the business is at that current moment. When looking at your balance sheet, the figures are broken down into three figures: assets, liabilities, and equity. When we are talking about assets, we are generally referring to the economic value that an individual, firm, or company owns and controls. This figure is often compared against a company’s liabilities. Liabilities, by definition, are a company’s legal debt and expense obligations that arise during the course of a business operation. These two figures are then compared and contrast to calculate the overall equity and net worth of the company. Equity is found by simply finding the difference between the assets and the liabilities. By evaluating these numbers, you will be able to plan and strategize big managerial, operational, or financial decisions to further better your company for the 2016-year.

Once you have analyzed and understood the overall figures for your company, begin preplanning for any big expensive moments. Remember, there is always room and growth for saving. Review the quantitative monthly expenses through your liabilities and begin mapping out any future expenses for the year. For example, rent increase, office materials, company expansion etc. This will allow you to prepare for those financial speed bumps later on and recover when need be.



Last but not least, create various financial goals for the 2016-year. Many companies already do this with quarterly evaluations. Like them, see this as a window of opportunity to improve your company in hitting stronger financial objectives. This, of course, goes back to the numbers on the balance sheet. After attaining a holistic understanding of the previous year, try and set up specific financial goals you want to hit at the end of three months. For example, say you want to hit half a million in sales. Ask yourself how that number compares to the previous year and what you can do to attain that objective. When planning these goals, keep in mind that number in mind and plan out an overall attainable action plan. The main idea is to be both ambitious and realistic. Take those numbers and create a tangible goal that you know your company can hit, especially for the end of the year.

Five Main Economic Terms You Should Know

Female student studying

Regardless of your industry or field, economics plays a large portion in our lives. It is the reason and strategy of the decisions we make in our lives each and everyday. Because of that reason, it is imperative that you have a basic understanding of some of the big economical terms used all throughout the world. Below, you will find five basic economic concepts that everyone should understand. By knowing them, you will be able to optimize your decision-making skills in every aspect of the day.

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is the amount of commodity, product, or service that is available and desired for buyers and sellers within a particular market. Depending on the amount available and the demand ask, the overall regulation price of a product can fluctuate throughout time. Take for example the iPhone from Apple. Because of its high demands, the price for a particular phone or package will be at a constant high. To go beyond the scope of the product, we also need to encapsulate the overall cause and effect relationship supply and demand can have on a market. Continuing with the example of the iPhone, the materials and products needed to make the phone itself can also increase simply because of the demand. By understanding this relationship, you will be able to conceptualize the impact that products, prices, and demands can with each other.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The gross domestic product, commonly referred to as the GDP, is the broadest quantitative measure of a nation’s total economic activity. More specifically, the GDP represents the monetary value of all goods and services produced within a nation’s geographic border over a specified period of time, usually annually. This number is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of the country’s economy. To have a quantitative number on the total dollar value of all goods and service produces gives business and political leaders the necessary ideas and strategies of what they can do to improve or change the economy for the better.

Cost-Benefits Analysis

Cost-benefit analysis encompasses the cornerstone of our rational expectations and logistical decisions. By definition, it is a systematic approach to estimate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative options that can satisfy transactions, activities, or functional requirements of a business. In simplistic terms, it is the idea of finding the most beneficial situation that can benefit an individual with the least amount of cost. Take for example you are running a business and you need to produce one hundred million products. If you can produce that same amount in the same quality for a cheaper price, wouldn’t it make sense to go for the cheaper option? This type of sound thinking is something entrepreneurs and business executives utilize in their everyday life within the private sector.


Inflation by definition is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling. Take for example if the inflation rate is 5%. If a candy bar cost $1.00 in a given year, the cost will be $1.05 next year. This means that as goods and services require more money to purchase thus impacting the value of the money, which will decrease.


Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources. Think of this within the gas and energy sector where we are dealing some of the world’s most limited resources. With such limits, this of course impacts the overall price. Go back to the idea of supply and demand and how much effect it can have on the price of goods.

House Votes to Lift Oil-Export Ban, White House Vetoes


The beginning of October 2015 was an absolutely historic moment in the power and oil sector where the House voted to lift the 40-year-old ban on the export of U.S. crude oil that has been in place since 1975 during the height of the Arab oil embargo. Lawmakers voted 261 to 159 to ending the 40-year prohibition. For oil producers and lawmakers from oil-producing states, the repeal is seen as a way to find new markets for American energy and to bring back jobs to districts that have been hit hard from the excess supply by allowing American fuel to be sold overseas.

(Learn more about the benefits here.)

While many Republicans have come out in favor of the idea, the vote has fueled a clash with most Democrats, including President Barack Obama. President Obama sent out a powerful message to Congress and to the American public regarding the issue. He states that the administration is unlikely to sign off on any measures expanding fossil fuel production and sales even if those measures carry economic benefits for the country. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton added on with the negative ramifications that the lifting of the ban could have on the environment. This supports many environmental groups who also oppose the lifting of the ban, arguing that doing so could further stimulate production of fossil fuels.

George Baker, executive director of the coalition of more than a dozen oil companies such as Marathon Oil Corp and Apache Corp states, “this is a vote to level the playing field for U.S. workers and businesses who should be allowed to compete against foreign oil suppliers like Iran and Russia.” Baker continues by stating various benefits that the lift could have on the American public. Allowing oil exports would not only provide equal opportunities but also eliminate the market distortions, create jobs, and stimulate more U.S. petroleum production, which has increased significantly (80%) since 2008.

(Learn more about the vote here.)

Regardless of the benefits, the White House plans on threatening to veto the bill. They believe that Congress should focus its efforts on supporting transitions to a low-carbon economy.

Currently, 235 Republicans and 26 Democrats supported the bill. These numbers are short of the 290 needed to override a presidential veto.

While this is currently still a heated topic, some politicians are going a different route stating the ban no longer holds value. According to a report released this year by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. may achieve energy interdependence between 2020 or 2030. For them, tinkering with the import and export won’t change things. What matters is who has the oil and how much.

So the questions remain. Should the ban be lifted? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Is this the right move for the American public? For now, we can only just watch. The chess pieces are already at play. Let’s just hope we see our futures with a checkmate.