By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor 

Do you ever wonder how and why some folks are successful, natural born leaders and some aren’t? How some folks learn to deal with the ups and downs of life and find a way to make things better while others are so down and find the smallest thing to complain about? And keep complaining. They don’t deal or play well with others.

Successful leaders seem to have a trait, or several traits as a matter of fact, traits which allows them to move forward in a more positive mode.

There are many traits successful leaders have. Here are seven we believe in and want to share.


  1. Your Attitude is Your Choice – Successful leaders have great attitudes. No one else can make you have a great attitude but you. So you are totally in control of this factor. You can wake up, smile, and feel this is gonna be a great day. That’s your choice. Or, you can wake up and decide it’s gonna be a crappy day. Again, your choice. Which would you rather have? And let’s not forget, there is a difference between an attitude and a mood. Know what it is?

             Attitudes are permanent; moods are temporary. Big difference. Those with a better attitude get out of bad moods quicker.

             Why? Because those of us with a great attitude do not want to wallow in the manure of a bad mood. (And yes, I cleaned that up.)

  1. Visualize Success – Successful leaders visualize success. They see a positive outcome. If you watch American Idol (as I do), you know each and every one of those kids sees themselves as the winner. They visualize it. Any political candidate running for office sees themselves winning. Whether they do or don’t isn’t part of visualization. It is, however, the key to how they got where they are. Seeing yourself winning is critical in having a great attitude. You know that old saying “whether you say you can, or you can’t…you’re right.” (Henry Ford I’m told.)
  2. Humor, Energy and Enthusiasm – A huge part of being a successful leader are these 3 magic ingredients. Successful leaders, laugh more, walk and work with energy, and they keep their enthusiasm up in all areas. My dad told me years ago: “Enthusiasm is contagious; let’s start an epidemic.” 
  3. Resist Negative Tendencies – Successful leaders don’t want to participate with those folks who want to bring you down. They keep away from them. They’re downers. “It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I’m too fat. I’m too thin. I hate my hair.” the list goes on. No one wants to be with people who are constantly down and complaining. Keeping that positive mental attitude is very important. Successful leaders resist negative tendencies.
  4. Be a Whatever It Takes Person – There’s a wonderful poem I memorized years ago and while it’s too long to print here, it’s called “Somebody Said It Couldn’t Be Done.” Bottom line, it mean to be a double checker. Successful leaders take the time to double check. Be a ‘whatever it takes’ person. It’s a thrill to make it happen when someone else doesn’t think it can.
  5. Embrace Change – Difficult we know. However, those successful leaders realizing when and where there is change, it’s normally for the better. And worse case, if it’s not better, accepting and embracing change, will help the attitude. My dad had a fun saying. He would say, “Nancy, the next time you change your mind, get a good one.” The key to embracing change is to accept it. Successful leaders work with it. They make it work.
  6. Be Grateful for What You Have – Successful leaders have no room for jealously. We can be envious of something or someone, that’s a normal trait. Example, I’m envious of those who can sing. I’m not jealous; just envious. When you’re jealous you can hold grudges. (Successful leaders don’t normally hold grudges.) Why wait for a life-altering experience to be thankful for what you do have. It might be too late.

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Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, St. Louis, MO, is a popular KEYNOTE speaker at franchise, association and corporate conferences.

For a DEMO of Nancy in action, call 314-291-1012 or log on to: or email her at

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.