Leading with Attitude


When it comes to leadership, one size most certainly doesn’t fit all. Some individuals are ruthless, opinionated and impulsive. Others are mild-mannered, diplomatic and sensitive. The most effective leaders often seek a middle ground, using a combination of techniques depending on their circumstances.

Gary Vaynerchuk undoubtedly has employed multiple strategies and approaches in his lucrative entrepreneurial career. But it’s clear that confidence or decisiveness has never been one of his issues. Get past his swagger and affinity for self-promotion and you’ll find someone who’s passionate about succeeding in life.

Vaynerchuk’s fourth book, #AskGaryVee, a print version of his popular YouTube series, The #AskGaryVee Show, is loaded with Vaynerchuk’s takes on social media, brand marketing and business development. Vaynerchuk covers a lot of ground, though he makes one thing perfectly clear: there is no substitute for hard work – or “hustle” – one of his favorite terms. If the other guy is working around the clock, then brew a giant pot of strong coffee and forget about sleep. You get the impression that’s Vaynerchuk’s greatest discovery would be a 25th hour.

Vaynerchuk, the son of Russian immigrants, seemingly was born with an intense work ethic. As a youngster he managed multiple lemonade stands and made a small fortune buying and selling baseball cards before being “dragged” into his family’s wine shop business at the age of 14. In the ensuing years, Vaynerchuk embraced the Internet’s mighty power, building Shopper’s Discount Liquor into a $60 million enterprise he renamed the Wine Library.

In 2006, Vaynerchuk created Wine Library TV, a YouTube blog that launched his career as an angel investor, public speaker and media personality. Three years later he founded VaynerMedia, showing large companies how to promote their brands on social media, and in 2014 launched The #AskGaryVee Show.

“I have seen people transform themselves by increasing their hustle,” Vaynerchuk says, adding that while hard work alone doesn’t guarantee success, not working hard enough is a recipe for failure. Hard work, in fact, is the only variable that you can control, he says. Whatever you lack in brains, talent or education can be overcome through attitude and effort.

“The level at which you increase your income and brand is limited only by the scope of your ambition and willingness to hustle,” Vaynerchuk writes.

Vaynerchuk has little tolerance for those who boast about their great ideas yet can’t get out of their heads. Achievement requires action. Game plans may look terrific on paper but are useless without execution. Entrepreneurship requires bravery and a willingness to fail. It’s not for everyone, Vaynerchuk points out. There’s nothing wrong in simply striving to be a great leader for your employees.

“You basically want to pour your point of view, ideas and values into the water of your organization, and give your team lots of chances to drink,” says Vaynerchuk.


One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness
Gary Vaynerchuk
HarperBusiness, 2016

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