How Great Leaders Take Action To Stand Out From The Crowd
People who have been followers too long as an employee don’t realize how hard it is to be a leader. How great leaders take action to stand out from the crowd and empower people is crucial for the business and the organization.
Leadership is not a pose or a title but the willingness to take responsibility and action.
It’s easy to measure great leaders by specific, singular actions or initiatives that they are often remembered for. But, when you think about the great leaders you’ve worked with closely, you know that great leadership is less about monumental actions, and more about daily habits and actions that motivate, inspire, and encourage accountability.
Great leaders change us for the better because they drive change by taking action.
They see more in us than we see in ourselves, and they help us learn to see it too. They dream big and show us all the great things we can accomplish. The leaders we admire most have a distinct way about them — an almost shocking level of preparedness in the toughest of situations. They don’t get here overnight. They arrive by virtue of action.
When you think about the accomplishments of great leaders, the scope of their achievements may seem intimidating.
After all, they’ve made huge waves in the world of business, whereas you may feel like you’ve barely made a splash. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from them in order to become a better leader yourself. You don’t have to wait for formal training: You can sharpen your leadership skills throughout an average day.
Leadership is more than a concept; it’s a verb. As a leader, taking action is not an option.
Let’s examine some habits of great leaders that you can adopt to strengthen your leadership skills and stand out from the crowd. When practiced consistently, these great habits can set you apart and help your business grow.
Action #1: Eat The Passion Fruit
Needless to say, great leaders are always passionate. Their enthusiasm enables them to surmount greatest of hurdles thrown their way and come out of the field with the flying colors. Nothing in this world can deter him from reaching his destination no matter how perilous the journey is.
His boundless passion and energy help him eventually get where he always wanted to be.
Great leaders also ignite passion among their followers. When you are passionate about something, it will definitely be visible and others will start doing the same. An enthusiastic leader inspires others to work hard, take action and never lose hope. Timeline of success is not important for such people. They strongly believe that if you keep looking for what you want, you will eventually get it.
You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.
Whereas vision is a clear idea of where you’re going, a sense of purpose refers to an understanding of why you’re going there. People like to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Great leaders give people that feeling. Passionate leaders invigorate teams, facilitate meaningful connections and drive results. Passion also helps cultivate a positive and engaging company culture.
By encouraging people to bring their best game to the table, anything and everything is possible.
If you’re not passionate about what you do, you won’t succeed at much of anything because you’ll always be pushing through that lack of motivation and excitement. The future may be made up of many uncertain factors but the passionate will not only survive ; they will thrive. Let’s make sure you paint a vivid picture of that future immersed in choice, leveraged with opportunity, and fueled by passion.
If the Number One thing we want is committed people, we need to start by looking in the mirror. Leaders who lack passion will have followers who lack commitment.
You’ve heard it said that the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. That is especially true when we look at the attitude, the work ethic, the energy, and commitment of the leader. Pure passion will permeate your team, it will rub off on them, and it will inspire them. Passion means being willing to suffer for something that you love. The kind of passion that inspires commitment shows up early, stays late, finds solutions, engages the team, and gets the job done.
Turning vision into reality requires passion. Passion elevates productivity and ensures employee commitment to your vision.
Passion is born out of something that is intensely meaningful to you. It is not a general hobby or a fleeting interest; rather, it is core to who you are. When you are passionate about something, your passion influences your daily choices and activities. What you do and say centers on your passion. Passion eventually leads to mastery and success, in large part because you are always thinking and working on the thing you are passionate about. Most successful leaders don’t have a job — they have a passion.
Action #2: The Gift of The Gab
Whether it’s verbal, emails, text messages, or public speaking, great leaders have mastered effective communication. They know how to be direct and make others feel comfortable. Relaying your excitement for the future is a surefire to get your team to buy into your vision. But, you also need to be able to clearly explain the performance expectations to your team so that they can see the bigger picture.
It’s hard to rally a team if you haven’t clearly communicated exactly what they’re rallying around.
Having strong communication skills can ensure your team knows where you stand, where the company is going, and how they fit in. If you are leading people, it has to be participative and collaborative. In times of leadership change, people tend to perceive it as a loss of business vision. Or they fear their role might change. If you’re a leader, it’s always a good idea to assess and sharpen your skills so you can overcome the most common communication challenges.
Good leaders know when it is time to speak and when it is time remain silent and listen to others. Their communication abilities are immaculate.
They can explain succinctly what they need from their employees and what company’s mission and goals are. They are always specific about their demands, making it easier for their employees to understand their requirements and act accordingly. Whether you are talking to an individual, your team or a large crowd, your words should exhibit your confidence, knowledge and your passion for the organization.
Communication is the real work of leadership.
It’s a fundamental element of how leaders accomplish their goals each and every day. You simply can’t become a great leader until you are a great communicator. Great communicators inspire people. They create a connection with their followers that is real, emotional and personal, regardless of any physical distance between them. Great communicators forge this connection through an understanding of people and an ability to speak directly to their needs.
Leaders communicate with actions and attitude, too.
While effective leaders master the art and craft of language, speaking clearly, and presenting logical and compelling arguments, skilled leaders also know that communication goes beyond words. If people hear one thing from you and see another, your credibility is shot. People need to trust you. Your behavior and actions communicate a world of information — so be clear on the messages you send when you aren’t saying anything.
Effective leadership demands interacting with people in a way that motivates and energizes them.
This requires communicating in a manner that goes beyond just relaying information. The most successful leaders inspire others, build connections between people, and create alignment throughout the organization. Great leaders understand the importance of communication and continually work on building their skills to inspire others, listen to those around them, create alignment, and execute strategies.
Action #3: Put People First
Leaders rarely make themselves the center of attention. They acknowledge, and show their gratitude, of the hard work, dedication, success, and even other leadership efforts from team members via a monthly newsletter, weekly meeting, social media shout out, or award ceremony.
With great power comes great responsibility.
And it’s true! Whether this responsibility is to the masses or a group of ten employees, great leaders put their tribes first. Leaders like Fidel Castro who use their power for personal gain ultimately end up with the dissatisfaction — and therefore lost loyalty — of their followers.
A great leader always builds a team he can trust.
Great leaders lead by example but they also empower their team members to shine and rise through the ranks. In fact, a leader is nothing without his team. Building a team of like-minded people is one of the most important moves a leader can make. The team helps a leader better solve the problems in addition with improving the overall productivity of individual members.
By definition, as a leader, you have people to lead.
Those people are ultimately going to be the foundation for your success; if they are successful, you can consider yourself successful as a leader. Don’t neglect them. Take time every day to connect with your team, preferably on an individual basis. Talk to them. Ask them about their challenges and their ideas. Get to know them, and learn their strengths and weaknesses. It will strengthen your team’s bonds and make you a better leader.
Great leaders make it their mission to help employees reach their potential, which means investing time, energy and resources to help employees grow.
Make it a habit: No matter your budget or business size, you should always be educating your employees. In the next month, make it a point to offer one educational experience to every employee. It doesn’t have to be a fancy seminar that costs a fortune; it could simply be the latest and greatest instructional video or a subscription to a magazine that would be helpful for them. In three months, find a new educational bonus to offer them but keep the old one around if it’s still relevant.
Teamwork will not happen if everyone is not doing their part so it is important for the leader to make everyone feel important and appreciated.
Once the team is working together there is appreciation from the employees, and you as the leader have just opened up the door where employees begin to become the drivers themselves of the processes and the systems because the team is working together. When all the team members are working for the same outcome, the ability to achieve greater success is bigger than ever! How would you like your organization to achieve success beyond your expectations?
Action #4: Make Up Your Mind
A good decision made early will more likely save your organization than a better decision made later. In general, any decision is better than no decision. Smart leaders take reasonable time to consider alternatives, and then move forward, never looking back.
Great leaders know that a decent plan executed today is better than an awesome plan executed after it’s too late.
Being decisive doesn’t mean being reckless. Get as much information as possible and then make a pros and cons list for each of your options. Once you’ve weighed each decision, imagine your life 5, 10 and 30 years down the road if you’d made each decision. Then act decisively.
Good leaders can quickly adapt to changing situations and don’t feel compelled to stick to a script, or the way things have always been done.
They think outside the box and learn to embrace new ideas and concepts that may be outside their comfort zone. Everyday leaders understand that challenges and obstacles are all part of the personal growth and development process.
People will wait to see if a leader is courageous before they’re willing to follow his or her lead.
People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show courage themselves when their leaders do the same. Leaders who lack courage simply toe the company line. They follow the safest path — the path of least resistance — because they’d rather cover their backside than lead.
Good decision-making skills are based on both your leadership skills and your ability to exercise sound judgment in the performance of your job duties.
Sound judgment entails reserving your conclusions until you have sufficient facts and not making snap judgments without solid information. Prudence also means you conduct your own research instead of relying on others’ statements to resolve workplace issues. Don’t just think about what could go wrong, think about what the benefits of the decision could be. Consider what the worst result could be, and if you can handle that, do it.
Being seen as a strong, decisive decision maker is a critical factor in establishing leadership credibility.
A quick and well thought through decision backed by logic, gut instinct, and taking personal responsibility for the outcome can boost our standing in the eyes of those around us. Appearing indecisive leaves an impression of low confidence and doubt. That impression brings our ability and experience into question.
Action #5: Eat Humble Pie
Leaders don’t need excuses, like a down economy, bad timing or demonic competitors. Every company and every one of us makes mistakes, which are a normal consequence of tackling new business challenges and unknowns.
Successful leaders don’t make excuses or throw their team under the bus when something didn’t go as planned.
They don’t embarrass employees in front of everyone. They take full responsibility and blame. And, if they feel a team member made an error, they give this feedback to them in private. At the same time, when things go as planned, or have exceeded expectations, they don’t take all of the credit. They share this success with the team that worked with them side-by-side, they put the spotlight on others.
Great leaders relish in the failures because they understand that each one leaves a clue for a faster track to success.
The reason that biographies of successful people are so valuable to read is you get to see the failures they had on their way to the victories. You get to see the what caused them to realize their pinnacle over the course of a decade, as opposed to five years. Moreover, there’s a lot of what they did listed — but there’s just as much of what they didn’t do.
Great leaders are humble. They know when to speak loud and when to eat their words.
They don’t allow their position of authority to make them feel that they are better than anyone else. As such, they don’t hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed and they won’t ask their followers to do anything they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
Great leaders know that sometimes plans don’t work out. When you encounter setbacks, you have to own them.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a Business Insider interview, “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon” and then went on to list some of the company’s biggest flops. When something goes wrong, ask yourself, “How is this tied to my decision-making?” Even if it was an employee who made the mistake, you’re the one who hired and trained them — or hired the people who hired and trained them. When you own this level of responsibility, admitting you made a mistake isn’t a big deal because you’ve accepted that everything is your decision. This sounds overwhelming but it is actually quite empowering.
Everyone gets it wrong sometimes. Making mistakes is part of life.
It takes high levels of honesty, integrity, and courage to admit when you’re wrong. Perhaps that’s why many leaders don’t do it. Admitting when you’re wrong builds trust and shows integrity. Typically, when leaders realize they’ve made a mistake, others have noticed, too. Leaders who then fail to admit they were wrong leave employees feeling as though their leaders consider being right more important than being honest. Taking responsibility demonstrates that leaders value integrity over the easier paths of laying blame or hoping their mistake won’t be exposed.
Action #6: Discipline Equals Freedom
All you have to do is consolidate some of your less important tasks and processes into single, simple routines that you can do without expending any mental energy. That way, you can better focus on the more complex, demanding tasks that the day will inevitably offer.
Great leaders know that routines help eliminate unnecessary distractions and decisions.
Take Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, for example. He simplified the decision of “what to wear” by sporting the daily uniform of jeans and a hoodie. Your workday should save time and money by managing the right way, have routines that increase efficiency and cut out trivial decisions. In addition, there are many things you can do to help automate your day. For example, check your email only three times a day: in the morning, lunch and an hour before leaving. Other than that, keep your inbox closed. You’ll be surprised at how much time you save. “What if someone has an emergency?” you ask. Well, if it’s a real emergency, they’ll call you.
Self-discipline: Everyone wants to achieve it, but it’s difficult to take the first step.
In today’s world, where every year something new is there to buy and the consumer market makes sure you don’t want to miss out, it’s easy to buy things with a click of a button, whether you need them or not. Essentialism can be easily applied in the workplace. When you work on the next initiative or project, as a leader, take the time to define your vision — what is important for the business to succeed? Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, take another shot.
Your life can be so scattered and piecemeal you don’t know what’s coming up next. Disciplined leaders do their best to avoid this.
They know they can’t be productive if they don’t have a focus on what’s to come. So they plan out their day, they know what needs to get done and what doesn’t, and they focus on the important activities. Look at your calendar. See what needs to be done and what doesn’t need to be accomplished. Then tackle those important tasks.
It’s often said that we are our own worst enemies.
This is especially true as a leader, as how well you can make yourself stay on top of difficult or boring tasks can mean all the difference in how successful a project turns out. Make your actions consistent and they will have a better chance of becoming a habit. It’s important to schedule tasks that you need to complete and have some sort of a routine that works for you. If you stick to this routine, it should become a habit after 30 to 90 days. If it’s a habit, it’s already a discipline and you won’t need as much willpower to want to do it.
Discipline is a life-learning process and hence it can be adapted with evolving times, but it will teach every leader notable lessons that will bring those triumphs and add glory to every victory.
Many world successful business titans are not just extraordinary leaders of their times but are also highly disciplined personalities, who have shattered the barriers of time, work, and energy and rose as superhuman magnates. This is the kind of discipline that today’s leaders should adopt to become a successful baron in the business world. With creative mindsets, determined team-work, 100% authentic conduct, every leader should create a disciplined performance environment, where success is inevitable.
Action #7: True Blue
Being authentic doesn’t mean being universally liked, but it does create a significant level of trust and respect. Effective leaders are genuine. They have faults and aspirations and they convey their purpose with clarity.
Leaders who are authentic are transparent and forthcoming. They aren’t perfect, but they earn people’s respect by walking their talk.
Authenticity refers to being honest in all things — not just what you say and do, but who you are. When you’re authentic, your words and actions align with who you claim to be. Your followers shouldn’t be compelled to spend time trying to figure out if you have ulterior motives. Any time they spend doing so erodes their confidence in you and in their ability to execute.
Loyalty is sadly underrated. Loyalty means keeping teams in the loop, and sometimes taking responsibility for failures, and sharing in success.
Demonstrating loyalty and inspiring loyalty is about transparency, trust, and authenticity. Great leaders hold themselves accountable to their team, report to those who report to them, and give trust in order to earn it. Just as true loyalty comes from feelings deep inside you, the power to inspire loyalty comes from deep inside as well. It’s fundamentally a question of the kind of person you choose to be.
The greatest of leaders are the ones who “walk the talk.”
They don’t run out of the office before everyone else to go golfing. They don’t gossip or talk-down to others. They don’t sabotage someone else’s work. They don’t make questionable deals. They’re hard working, trustworthy, transparent, ethical, and treat everyone with respect. To build trust and earn respect, they lead by example.
Make sure that you take the time to connect with your team on a human level, or else you risk work becoming a robotic experience,
When you limit yourself to only checking tasks off a list or focusing solely on driving sales, you risk employee turnover, disengaged teams, and falling short of goals. When you’re focused so much on systems and tools, you might forget to nurture relationships and develop the skills of your staff. The relationships you have with your team members can make or break the work outcomes. It’s crucial to constantly build and maintain those relationships, keeping them in good standing.
Authentic leaders believe in open communication and combine their directness with empathy, which more often than not brings success.
The image they project in public is not drastically different from how they really are in private. They don’t hide their mistakes and weaknesses and have the courage to actually be who they really are. They don’t say things which they don’t mean, and they earn respect because of this quality. People trust them because they keep their word, no matter what it takes.
At the end of the day, only action produces results. Building relationships, developing others, and making decisions lead to more effective actions; but it is the actions of you and your team, along with the outcomes they produce, that will build your reputation as a great leader.
In other words, it’s the actions, not the title, that make someone a leader.
If you want to be like a great and respected leader, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror to see how many of these actions already show in your persona, and which need a bit more of your focus and learning. Action, attitude, and consistency are a few things that set truly great leaders apart from their peers, but within those categories are specific actions that successful leaders take daily to reach their goals.
Incorporate these daily habits into your regular routine, and reflect on how they affect your capacity as a leader.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see progress overnight; most leaders only become great after years or decades of unsteady progress. Your priority shouldn’t be on achieving a particular result, but rather on creating a specific environment that will allow you to thrive.
No one is a born leader — all of these habits and mindsets can be acquired by learning and a determination to improve.
Leadership doesn’t come with success, but success does come with leadership. Don’t wait for someone else to show you the way — you don’t want another leader out in front of you. Only then you will be able to make a mark in a crowded world of leadership.
You don’t become a great leader simply by checking the box. Stay committed to daily actions as you evolve in your leadership and watch your team grow along with you.
As best-selling author Sean Covey says, “We become what we repeatedly do.” So, are you ready to take action every single day? What do you think of this list of great leaders’ attributes? Have you been in a leadership position, and what was your experience? Please let us know in the comments below!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.