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‘If You Want Your Life to Be Simple, You Shouldn’t Be a Leader’ says Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma


It’s difficult to define leadership but one thing is for sure – it is a skill that you develop every day, a practice that one needs to constantly hone and nurture to get better at it.

This, in short, is Alexa von Tobel’s take on leadership. The founder and CEO of personal finance website LearnVest.com says one is never ‘done growing’ when it comes to leadership.

A successful leader herself, she recently wrote a piece on what it means and what it takes to be one, inspired by a speech from Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma, one of the most successful businessmen in the world today.

Here are her three takeaways on the matter:

  1. You Have to Show Some Love

Being a leader is about creating a positive atmosphere and getting the best of the talent on disposal. Tobel agrees with Ma’s notion that a good leader needs to have bundles of IQ and EQ, but also of what is known as love quotient (LQ).

She says leaders should forge an emotional bond with their team, one that extends beyond their office relationship and one that reflects genuine care for them. A good leader should be looking after his team and be mindful of their wants and needs outside the workplace as well, instead of simply trying to assert his authority by force.

A good leader should be a ‘humble servant’ to the talent, she says, and showing some love is a big part of that.

  1. Being a Leader is no Fun and Games

Jack Ma is running a gigantic organization with thousands of employees and, by his own admission, it’s no walk in the park.

A leader never gets a break, he doesn’t have the luxury to go hiding and must take all hits head on.

The second anything goes south, the leader must step up and fix the problem, whether it is after hours, on a sunny Sunday or during their child’s birthday.

It means hard work, dedication and rolling the sleeves up, it means not being afraid of getting your hands dirty.

  1. A leader must lead by example

As a leader, one gets to deal with lots of stressful situations all the time. It is in times like these when tensions run high and a leader must push his team to the limits.

When faced with a difficult problem, a leader must persevere and inspire people, to lead them through the rough patches until they all emerge together to the day where things are beautiful again.

The best leaders are those who look at problems from every angle, those that take the time to get to know their people, those that are aware of their shortcomings and are constantly working to better themselves.

A good leader can always become a better leader, it’s a journey that never ends.