Are you an elite leader? 7 traits identified by Sam Walker, author of The Captain Class

When I first heard about Sam Walker talking about traits of an elite captain on the Tony Robbins podcast, I was screaming with joy on the inside because I felt seen and acknowledged. One major thing I remember him saying (I am paraphrasing): 

These people aren't the first to be in the spotlight. They are the quiet people, behind the scenes, paying attention to everyone on their team and seeing what they need and take action. They usually also don't have large social media followings.

FAM. That's exactly why people choose for me to be on their teams. Molly Fletcher listed the 7 traits of an elite captain/leader as first developed by Sam Walker, author of The Captain Class. Take a gander and see if you identify with the 7 traits.

1. Extreme doggedness and focus in competition. Who in your office is the most focused? Who always wants to go the extra mile and stay late to perfect the new business pitch?

  • Me, sometimes depending on the project and how passionate about it.

2. Aggressive play that tests the limits of the rules. Leaders push boundaries – but only if it benefits the entire team. If someone is bending the rules, determine the reasoning. Is it selfish rebellion or a challenge to move the team forward?

  • I never used to do this because I strongly believed in hierarchies but sometimes when a manager, who hasn't spent time on the front lines makes a ridiculous suggestion, I would tell my team to do otherwise - because it didn't make sense!

3. A willingness to do thankless jobs in the shadows. Servant leadership is quiet and selfless. Who cleans up after the office lunch after everyone goes back to their desks? The leaders in Captain Class embraced the dirty work that they’d never get credit for.

  • The AMOUNT of thankless jobs I've done is outrageous. The "celebrity" of the team would not be the celeb if I didn't help them out but that's what makes me irreplaceable.
  • TIP: If you are that celebrity on your team and you have someone on your team that does this, thank them and quietly give them a raise every year or give them a spa package.
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4. A low-key, practical and democratic communication style. Leaders don’t necessarily have the loudest voice in the meeting. Often they don’t speak much. But when they do, it’s profound and persuasive because they have a pulse on the team.

  • I've been known to avoid verbal foreplay especially when I'm in work mode. Keep it simple and to the point.

5. Motivates others with passionate nonverbal displays. In the book, Sam references athletes who play through pain. This isn’t as common in the office, but think of the teammate who leaves notes for colleauges to motivate them or brings in lunch when the team is working in high gear. These nonverbal efforts speak volumes.

  • When I'm drowning in deadline but set-up a meeting, I will be fully present at the meeting and quiet the part of my brain that is nagging me about my to-do list. Also, if I know you love Starbucks, I will make the effort to schedule a meeting there.

Strong convictions and the courage to stand apart. If you see someone standing firm in his or her belief, even if it’s against the norm, this is a leader worth watching.

  • People think I'm nuts for my dream in creating a world where artists don't procrastinate, but I will stick to it - even if it is a bubble of a world it is still a world in and of itself.

7. Ironclad emotional control. When people are able to focus to get the task done despite difficult circumstances, personal or professional, these are leaders of conviction. Who remains emotionally resilient in the face of adversity and challenges?

  • I've made decisions that were emotional but I've learned to compartmentalize my feelings really well and pull them out again when necessary. Fun fact: This skill really helps when you are working with someone that you don't like.

I can think of a few people who are leaders in their own right. For example, ALL administrative professionals because this is what they do on the daily or any film crew member that isn't the director or actor (because those two roles get all the glory).

Some people in my network who I notice that are part of The Captain Class include:

Who are some people in your network that are part of the Captain Class?