The best “B” word for leaders – Better
This is the second installment in the Alphabet for Leaders. Today it’s the letter “B.”
Don’t brag about talents, aptitudes, abilities, education, achievements, or business relationships. Tell me this one thing about your leadership. Say you’re getting better.
Better is the leader’s best word.
I suggest you give up on best and embrace better. Perhaps Tom Peters wisdom about firms applies to peoples. He says, “Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” In other words, they believe in getting better.
In life and leadership you’re always going somewhere. You either move forward or backward but you’re never stationary. Standing still is a dream-world inhabited with fairies and sprinkled with pixy dust populated by those oblivious to their decline. It’s either better or its worse. You could say, the scales are never balanced. They always tip one way or the other.
Five characteristics of better
#1. Better glances at the past.
#2. Better concentrates on the future.
#3. Better reaches forward.
#4. Better is hopeful.
#5. Better expresses confidence.
A surprising way to get better at leading
The path to better leadership is paved with gratitude.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others,” Cicero. Gratitude is absolutely essential to your growth as a leader.
The opposite of gratitude isn’t ungratefulness, its arrogance. In addition, the companions of arrogance are anger, bitterness, and revenge. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve walked the dingy path of ungratefulness. My experience indicates ungratefulness is a black-hole pulling you away from not toward better leadership. On the other hand, the path of progress is lit with gratitude.
Additionally, express gratitude aggressively. Benigni says, “It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.”
What “B” word can you offer leaders? Leaving out leadership techniques, how can leaders get better at leading? Or perhaps I should ask what hinders leaders from getting better at leading?
Good post. Let me start with some highly undesirable qualities of a leader. they are ” Boot- licking, biased and bragging”. Leader should be free from all these three qualities. He should neither be biased nor his followers. He should neither boot-lick nor his followers. He should neither brag about his deed neither his followers. These qualities differentiate leaders from mis-leaders. Those who possess these qualities are mis-leaders and pretend to be leaders.
Of course, leader should do better than the best. If he can not do it, at-least he should try for it. Better is a comparative degree that means leader should always compare with himself or herself. When you are the best, you have nothing more to achieve or develop. So, leaders should try to be better in all his activities, attitudes and responses.
Love your B words. I don’t use the term boot-licking much so it’s very colorful and really gets the point across.
Thanks for bringing up the idea that better is a comparative and helping us be clear about who to compare with. I suggest we compare ourselves with past, progress, and potential.
Best to you,
one more – back stabbing..
“Belief” that the members of your organization can overcome the challenges they face and deliver on the commitments they make. Demonstrating a “belief” in others can always be a risky proposition for individuals in leadership positions, but failing to do so often leads to a decline in productivity and profitability, not to mention job satisfaction.
Great B word! I concur that it takes some faith to believe in others.
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Bodaciously working at getting better! That just sounds like too much fun, sign me up.
Fun???? Step away from the office! Thats just too bold.
Seriously, I think it’s time we got serious about having fun.
Doc is a featured contributor of Leadership Freak. See his bio:
“BOLD” .. not to be confused with being reckless, rash or even heroic, but rather being courageous enough to “do the right thing”. This course implies leading from inside out, that is from one’s core values and enduring sense of purpose.
My current definition of what it means “to lead” contains this “B” word.
To lead means: “to boldly and ethically draw upon one’s personal power and influence to move SELF and/or others successfully from the present reality to a more desirable future.”
Rock on man. Great word. I’ve probably by-passed bold a few times and gone right to reckless. However, I love your use of bold in your definition of leadership.
Best in your new projects.
I think “build up” and “bring out” are two more “B” words (albeit, two words or a phrase) that leaders must do. As leaders we should be aware we won’t be around forever so developing the next generation of leaders should always be in our thoughts and plans. “Build up” and “Build on” those talents and skills and “bring out” the best in our subordinates so we know we will have left it better for having been there.
ooooo! Love your B words!
I’m finding that leadership development within an organization is easier said than done. Thanks for the reminder.
Be back soon 🙂
I was reading LF post and comments and a simple B that crossed my mind is to “BE”.
What I most appreciate on leaders I’ve known is the human “BE” behind the job title, function, position or market. Sometimes it happens that some people can “BE” the leaders on a period and context, and not on the following, just because they live the “BE” more or less according conditions.
So what in fact drives followers is a conviction that they want to “BE” as the leaders live and express LIFE at work or any other field!!!
I am bowled over with your basic wisdom! Beautiful.
I think an added benefit of “BE” is people trust us. Even if they don’t like what we are doing they trust that we are being consistent with our values.
Thanks for stopping in,
Powerful post, Dan. Thanks.
Your courageous leadership is visible in your candor.
Gratitude is a signature of inspiring leadership.
A “C” word = candor… hmmmm is that the next in the series?
Thank you for dropping in and for your kind words.
Best to you,
Believe – in yourself, in others, in the mission, in the opportunity
I particularly enjoyed the last expression… believe in the opportunity!
B word for leadership “Be there”.
Be there in vision, in mind, in culture, in thought, and in attention when you are speaking with your teams. Today’s business world means not always being there physically.
Yet the sign of a great leader is that the inspiration and vision set comes to life even when s/he is not there physically.
B stands for brotherhood. A leader can only can influence his followers by showing brotherhood to all those who matter to him for achieving the common goals for the benefit of all. Your interpretation of B for ‘being better’ is quite appropriate and full of meaning.
Consider that your ‘brotherhood’ excludes all women leaders. An unwise and petty move.
You have caught me right! We can’t afford to ignore or miss the women folks. Many of them have proved their mettle and pose a great threat to the male leaders. However, it is difficult to say who would be a better one. It can be an another topic for Dan to consider.
“Bring it on”. Constant and never ending improvement. Keeps you focused and you have a reason to wake up and give it another go.
Thanks for the encouragement!
Best to you,
Bread – As in, “give them today their daily bread”. SERVANT leaders who strategically focus on removing the barriers in the path of their team’s success remove the fear often associated with risk-taking. Such a culture enables bold adventurers to thrive, which leads to higher levels of success.
Weed & Feed – Weed out the obstacles, Feed the bread!