What Great Leaders Do 101
What great leaders do? What great leaders have that good leaders don’t?
Great leaders come from all walks of life. Seldom do they follow some predetermined path to leadership.
Leadership is something that a lot of people think they have, but is actually something most don’t have. The problem is, we sometimes think being a manager or “boss” is the same thing as being a leader. It’s not.
Great leadership can be a difficult thing to pin down and understand.
You know a great leader when you’re working for one, but even they can have a hard time articulating what it is that makes their leadership so effective.
The things left out are often the things that make the greatest difference.
ImportantA leader isn’t someone who has the power to tell people to follow them. A leader is someone who inspires people to follow them.
The proof of leadership, its true measure, is not about being assigned, or awarded with leadership. It is about action, not position.
WarningTrue leadership is earned, and it is earned by having an impact — a lasting influence, an effect on those around you.
Great leaders aren’t born, they are made.
If you want to be a successful and great leader, you need to understand and develop some leadership traits.
There are quite a few things great leaders do that others don’t. Here are just seven of those things. As you read, think about how you lead. Do you do these five things?
Exceptional leaders are ones who inspire and consistently remind employees of the broader goal.
Great leaders possess an unquenchable passion for successfully implementing the vision of the company regardless of the disapproval of those individuals who fail to see the bigger picture.
Great leaders lead by example with an overriding guiding vision or purpose.
ImportantThey don’t waste time worrying about day to day responsibilities or problems. Instead, they focus on where the organization needs to go.
Leading by example sounds easy, but few leaders are consistent with this one.
Successful leaders practice what they preach and are mindful of their actions. They know everyone is watching them and therefore are incredibly intuitive about detecting those who are observing their every move, waiting to detect a performance shortfall.
There’s a strong sense of trust between great leaders and their team. Leaders trust their team will deliver high-quality work on time; their team trust their leader will be there to support them when needed.
Great leaders encourage others to take ownership.
If there’s one responsibility leaders need to perfect, it’s motivating a team. Emotionally connecting their vision with others is a great start.
Purpose comes down to how great leaders tell and retell the story of their group so that everyone on the team moves in exactly the same direction.
ImportantGreat leaders connect the day-to-day work with this larger, shared purpose so that everyone feels like a valuable asset in achieving the broader goal.
The sure sign of a mediocre or poor leader is that their leadership is about them.
WarningThe reason people want to throw their whole heart into a mission is because the mission is about a cause bigger than everyone, including the leader.
They Know Words
The quality of communication is not inherent in the words that are spoken, it is determined by its impact.
Great leaders communicate with impact by tailoring their message to fit their audience and by leveraging their own strengths.
Great leaders clearly communicate expectations.
ImportantAll team members should have a clear idea of what they’re responsible for delivering on at all times. That’s why successful leaders regularly communicate expectations.
Misunderstandings in communication can easily occur, if not clarified on time.
It is therefore of paramount importance to know: what to say, when to say and how to say it. Effective communication has the benefit that things will get done quicker and better and mistakes, waste of time and money can be avoided.
A great leader empowers people with honesty and transparency. A great leader understand that all else being equal, transparency shows respect for your team and helps them do good work.
Great leaders love what they do and communicate their passion to others.
They exude a passionate energy that rubs off on others around them. They have a light, effortless, and clear persona that is projected to everyone they meet because they are so in tune with their work.
Great leaders speak with clarity by drawing from their strengths.
ImportantAnchoring their communication to their strengths allows them to speak with conviction and ensures that their audience perceives their message as genuine.
Their words ring true and their audience responds in kind.
They Are Supportive
Great leaders share the harvest of their success to help build momentum for those around them.
Successful leaders don’t focus on protecting their domain – instead they expand it by investing in mutually beneficial relationships.
Poor leaders will sometimes leave a trail of bodies or a trail of disappointment.
ImportantBut the great leaders leave a legacy, because they leave people better than they were when they found them.
Truly great leaders alway make time for people who can provide no direct help for them.
WarningSelfish leaders are always building networks of people who can help them get ahead. Just because you can’t do something for everybody doesn’t mean you can’t do it for somebody.
Great leaders are serving from the bottom and are authentic servants of their people. They put the needs of the team before their own. Including the individual needs of each team member. Their org chart looks like an upside-down pyramid.
Teams are unlikely to develop creative, effective solutions to a problem if they feel psychologically unsafe.
ImportantThat is why great leaders create and maintain a psychologically safe environment for their teams that is devoid of slings launched by self-centered teammates.
Great leaders think of people as people where a manager sees only titles or organizational charts.
Great leaders thinks of people individually and holistically, and tries hard to understand strengths and weaknesses, goals and interests.
They Are Reliable
Successful leaders tackle issues head-on and know how to discover the heart of the matter at hand.
They don’t procrastinate and thus become incredibly proficient at problem solving; they learn from and don’t avoid uncomfortable circumstances.
Great leaders make tough decisions, knowing some will be wrong.
WarningGetting ahead in life is about doing the things that most people don’t like doing. Sometimes, these decisions are unpopular and gut-wrenching.
Great leaders nurture high-achieving culture by failing first and making it safe for others to fail too.
When a leader is vulnerable and creates a safe and trusting environment, people feel more comfortable taking risks, and supporting one another. These habits, in turn, are what lead the best teams and organizations to achieve the highest results.
Great leaders tend to show up on time. Showing up on time and prepared can put you ahead of most other leaders.
Great leaders know that character — not competency — determines your capacity as a leader.
ImportantSo they work hard on their heart, their lives, their morality. Ethical breaches, moral lapses and character flaws take highly skilled leaders out of play regularly.
Great leaders always stand up for their employees, especially in public.
In private, there might be a coaching session involved about how to better handle an angry customer. But to the world, the leader appears 100% on the side of their employee, ready to fight alongside them.
They Never Settle
Great leaders never quit. They embrace and overcome any obstacles, personal or otherwise, that stand in their way.
Great leaders stick with a problem or idea long enough and engage it deeply enough to clear away the fog and reduce the concept to its simplest forms so anyone can understand it.
Some people only see obstacles. Great leaders see opportunities.
ImportantWhen everyone else sees the problem, great leaders work at the problem until they find the opportunity.
Great leaders are innovative.
They try new ideas, tweak processes, and generally always try to improve everything they touch. They know when it’s time to throw in the towel on their experiment and try something else.
Ever notice that the best leaders never make excuses? In fact, the leaders who make the most progress make the fewest excuses. And the leaders who make the most excuses make the least progress.
Great leaders are in a constant state of self-improvement.
They crave transparent feedback from those around them. They know they can’t authentically develop others unless they develop themselves. Constantly.
Great leaders will always strive for more.
ImportantIt’s what makes them so successful. They never accept where they are as the best they can be.
They Are Accountable
Successful leaders allow their colleagues to manage them.
This doesn’t mean they are allowing others to control them — but rather becoming accountable to assure they are being proactive to their colleagues needs.
Weak leaders blame. The best leaders take full responsibility — even when it’s not their fault.
ImportantGreat leaders have discovered that taking responsibility doesn’t cause people to blame you; it causes people to trust you.
By correcting mistakes and recognizing triumphs, great leaders maximize the positive impact of accountability.
Unlocking this dual utility is a key differentiator between mediocre leaders, and great ones.
Accountability is the systematic evaluation of performance and the introduction of appropriate interventions to achieve desired objectives. Creating specific, measurable standards facilitate the accountability process by maintaining objectivity.
Respected leaders take time to praise team members who excel.
This can be as simple as sending off a quick email to communicate a job well done. When employees feel like their good work is getting noticed, they’re more likely to keep it up.
Great leaders are the first ones in and last ones out.
ImportantPeople follow managers because they’re afraid of losing their job. People follow leaders because they’re afraid of losing their respect.
They Turn Up The Heat
Great leaders possess the foresight to move ahead, even in the most questionable times.
They take risks and realize the importance of moving forward—daring themselves and others to venture out in new directions.
A scarcity mindset will kill your organization or church over the long haul.
WarningYes, every organization needs a bean counter. But if you think small you will stay small. If you think it’s not possible, it won’t be.
Great leaders will always under-promise and over-deliver.
The world is filled with people who promised and never delivered. Great leaders hit deadlines, and even beat them.
Great leaders change the narrative that goal setting is boring (and mostly fruitless). They understand how to be flexible in their approach and keep goal-setting fun, so everyone stays engaged and excited about growing, together.
Are great leaders fearless? Not at all. Fear undermines so much in leadership.
ImportantIt’s not that great leaders have no fears. They just push through them.
Great leaders always set high targets for them and their teams. They want to dominate.
The 10X rule can assist you with this. If you set your goals 10X larger, not only can you achieve your original goal, but you are possibly going to achieve much more than that.
It’s not easy being a great leader. Leadership is never easy.
There are plenty of schools that teach it, but you can’t simply get a diploma in leadership.
Without real-world experience, you’ll never understand how to build a solid team.
But there are steps you can take to earn others’ trust and become an example worth following. If you push yourself to do that, your teammates will push themselves further than you ever expected.
Great leaders are capable of developing these seven core elements.
WarningThey know that to truly affect people, you have to influence them. If you don’t, they will not follow you.
Ultimately, behind any great leader is a strong culture.
ImportantThese habits will establish a strong culture in which everyone can thrive.
Be obsessed or be average that’s the only one question you should ask to yourself if you plan to become a great leader for your teams.
Mastering these skills will help you develop your talent as great leaders in turn, setting a strong example for them to follow.
Are you ready to become a great leader? Do you have some specific experience you would like to share with our community? Feel free to comment below!