Silent Power Skills: What Strong Leaders Use to Lead That You Can’t Duplicate.

Chad Silverstein
4 min readJul 14


What They Forgot to Mention in College.

Leading anything is HARD. If you lead anything then I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but what I find so interesting about leadership is how much contradiction and how confusing it can sometimes be.

Leadership is also a life-long gig and here’s one of the contradictions, it’s also NOT. Meaning, you don’t wake up one day and find yourself to be an incredible leader, but you could wake up one day and find yourself on the front page of the newspaper. Ouch.

I’ve always been drawn to personal and professional development. I love everything about leadership, and the more I learn, the more I realize how hard it is to teach and train others to lead anything. Being a college grad today has to be tough. Looking back, I sure wish someone would have told me about certain skills and how I could start building them. Unfortunately, for me, I had to break my teeth, spend a LOT of money on leadership programs, and get punched in the face with many moments of truth that truly hurt. But I guess that’s the gig and even if someone would have tried to teach me I would have still had to go through what I went through to get to where I am today. Where is that? I don’t know, I’m focused on chasing down my next expression. How about you? What are you focused on?

Here are some skills that I think are worth sharing. I sure wish they would have taught me about all this stuff in college.


Clear communication lies at the core of strong leadership. Knowing when to speak up, when to listen, when to shut up, and when to keep the right secrets is a lifelong skill worth focusing on and pursuing. Great leaders can articulate their vision no matter where they are or who they’re talking to. They are great at setting clear expectations for anyone they lead. They avoid “bad surprises” as much as possible and they aren’t afraid to call out teammates when they fail. They do it from a place of love, not a place of loathing, and never just to prove a point.


Empathy may be more important than you think. While you first have to understand what empathy really is, we can never fully understand someone else’s perspective- but making an effort to show genuine and sincere concern for another is a gift. It creates a space where trust and performance become one. True empathy requires caring deeply about those around you and having the ability to stop thinking about yourself 24/7.


In today’s crazy and rapidly changing world— things change all the time. We are in a constant “change mode”, or at least we should be. Everything around us is designed to grow. Think about it, plants, animals, babies, trees, businesses, etc….how could our mental, spiritual, purposes, and passions be the exception? They’re not, and that’s why you can’t think of one person in your life who you consider a leader sitting idle doing nothing. No, they’re most likely a bit crazy and never-stop doing whatever it is they’re doing or trying to accomplish, personally and professionally.

Visionary Thinking

Great leaders have vision over visibility. They look past the current expression because they know it’s temporary. They see a better future with possibilities that may not exist today. That’s why they are so inspiring. They take actionable steps forward. Most important, they’re dreamers. And not just that, they’re also doers. Those who are Built to Lead are dreamers and doers. One without the other is a big problem.

Decision Making

Making tough decisions is one of the hardest parts of leadership, especially when every choice seems to have negative consequences or send ripples through other people’s lives. Leaders have to learn how to step back, evaluate situations from all angles, think through possible outcomes, and make decisions without getting paralyzed by their emotions. This skill comes with experience and often comes from learning the hard way- by failing, hard. It’s just part of the gig and you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable- and you have to be prepared to do this sometimes alone.

Emotional Intelligence

Leadership thrives on emotional intelligence. Understanding and regulating our own emotions allows us to respond to others without losing our minds. Conflict resolution becomes a simple conversation to be had and when leaders seek to understand before trying to be understood, they build trust on levels most people never taste. Building trust results in performance. Don’t miss that.

Developing these skills isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for growth. Set aside time for self-reflection, find a quiet place, and take an honest look at yourself. Most will never do this- and that’s exactly why there are so few great leaders.

But if you’re one of the few and you want it bad enough, then you’ll need to embrace taking on productive actions, learning more, failing, and more productive actions- because building these skills isn’t easy.

One thing is for sure, it really doesn’t matter which one of these skills you focus on. All that matters is that you’re working on something.

What are you working on? You’re probably too busy, which is normal.

One thing I know about strong leaders, the best ones- they’re far from NORMAL.



Chad Silverstein

Founder & CEO at [re]start, a Career Development Platform, connecting people to meaningful employment opportunities. #Career #Jobs #Leadership #Entrepreneurship