9 super-successful people share their biggest leadership secrets

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Every leader's abilities are put to the test at some point in their career. How well they handle the ups and downs, the excitement and turmoil, proves whether they're truly a great leader, or just another wannabe.

For its most recent Influencers editorial package, titled "How I Lead," LinkedIn asked some of the world's most successful executives, entrepreneurs, and industry experts to share their best leadership secrets and "surefire management methods" for getting through the good times, and bad.

Over 50 thought leaders shared original posts revealing how they lead in times of turbulence or growth.

Here's what nine super-successful people had to say:

Richard Branson: Decisiveness is key.

Photo Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty

The Virgin Group founder writes: "One of the most important skills any leader can learn is when to be decisive, and when to take a step back and look at the wider picture before making the big calls."

In times of turmoil, growth, or crisis, he says, there will be more decisions to be made and less time to make them. "There will also be an almost irresistible temptation to make these decisions as quickly as possible. A leader must be calm, confident in his choices, visible to his team and their customers, and in control of the situation."

Branson says a good leader never rushes in and jumps to rash conclusions before knowing all the facts — they delay judgment and first try to see the whole picture clearly. Then, he writes, they contemplate quietly.

"After looking at all the stats, speaking to all the experts and analysing all of the angles, then take some time to yourself to think things through clearly. Take a walk, find a shady spot, or simply sit and think for a while. Don't delay unnecessarily — but don't rush either. Get that balance right, and you are far more likely to make the right call."

See his full post here.

Mary Barra: Good ideas don't have a hierarchy.

Photo Credit: Daniel Roland/Stringer/Getty Images

Barra may be CEO of General Motors, but she's acutely aware that some of the best ideas don't come from the corner office. "No matter your industry, ideas can come from anywhere — from the line, the retail floor, or at your engineering center," she writes.

Because people have different roles within the company, they have different perspectives, Barra explains — and those alternate viewpoints can be invaluable. By getting the entire team's input, she's able to ensure that "solutions are evaluated from every angle."

Read her full post here.

Max Levchin: Your number one job is to get the best out of your team.

Photo Credit: Getty / Steve Jennings

Levchin, cofounder of PayPal and current CEO of Affirm, Inc., says in the early days of PayPal, he "avoided managing a team for as long as possible." He was a coder; he wanted to code. In the years since then, though, he's learned a number of lessons about management.

Principle among them: Above all else, your job is getting people to do their absolute best. "A great leader knows how to identify and navigate around the team members' weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths," he explains. And part of nurturing a stellar team means standing by them "through the best and worst of times." The best leaders, Levchin says, push their teams, cheer on their teams, and look out for their teams — in times of upheaval and in times of growth.

Read his full post here.

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