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New Orleans 'trash king': This trait sets natural leaders apart from everyone else

Sometimes being a strong leader really is as simple as not sweating the details, according to serial entrepreneur Sidney Torres.

The New Orleans native, who quickly made a name for himself by founding and selling his trash business to become one of the stars of New Orleans' social causes, recently broke down what it takes for someone to display natural-born leadership skills.

"I don't get caught up on the little things," Torres said. "I like to look at things globally and say, 'How can I fix this?'"

He added that looking at problems from a wider perspective has always helped him move quickly.

Torres’ app connects residents with a force of off-duty New Orleans police officers who patrol the neighborhood in utility vehicles.
NBC
Torres’ app connects residents with a force of off-duty New Orleans police officers who patrol the neighborhood in utility vehicles.

For example, when crime in New Orleans' French Quarter rose 40 percent, Torres took it upon himself to launch a community app dubbed "the Uber of policing," which he funded with $500,000 from his own pocket to help residents report crimes. Violent crime fell 45 percent in the months that followed.

"Everyone was saying, 'Well, you can't do the cars because the cars have to be approved,'" he said, referring to the Polaris utility vehicles he bought for contracted officers to ride in. "I said, 'Well, I'll just put the insurance policies on and I'm not going to wait. ... We're not going to stop the process. There's somebody being robbed and killed right now. We're not going to worry about these little things.'"

Torres is not alone in his thinking. Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed how much the advice he received from venture capitalist Peter Thiel drove him to take chances in an industry where stagnation means death.

For Torres, it was his ability to see the bigger picture that enabled him and his employees to keep moving forward.

Sidney Torres (right) with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
NBC
Sidney Torres (right) with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

"There's a certain point in time in any business situation where you have to get it going. And yes, you're going to have to clean it up, but don't let that stop you from getting it going," he said.

Instead of getting bogged down by the details, Torres says great leaders have a natural tendency to look at problems from the full "A-Z spectrum" and resist focusing too closely on anything holding an idea back.

"You have to have someone within your organization that is that person: The B-C-D-E-F-G. But the leader should always have the global look."

Watch for Torres in a new CNBC primetime series coming in 2017.

Video by CNBC's Brandon Ancil.