30 Ways to Be a Powerful Leader
- Fully align with organizational values, mission, and vision. Power comes to those who live under authority.
- Use your strengths to help powerful people reach their goals and weak people get ahead.
- Invite feedback and input from others. Those who explore options sit in the power chair.
- Identify your inner critic. Talk to yourself like someone with high potential.
- Pour yourself into meaningful purpose.
- Spend less time doing things that don’t matter.
- Err on the side of action.
- Break the rules and move forward without permission.
- See the big picture. Don’t get lost in the weeds.
- Accept others as they are, not as you wish they were, before calling them to rise up.
- Accept reality as it is, not as you wish it was. Power isn’t about pretending. Blame reflects weakness.
- Be grateful for what you have, even as you reach higher. Ungratefulness makes you weak.
- Show compassion and tenderness. Enhance your power by giving second chances.
- Learn from others but don’t lose yourself to imitation.
- Hold yourself and others to high standards.
- Solve problems don’t make them. Be a can-do rather than a can’t-do person.
- Acknowledge what you can’t do; focus on what you can.
- Finish stuff.
- Ask questions.
- Be persistent.
- Practice generosity.
- Avoid impulsive decisions.
- Call out the elephant in the room.
- Cultivate an inner circle who believes in you.
- Say what you think with candor and kindness.
- Practice saying no to something or someone without offering an excuse.
- Admit mistakes and make them right. Say, “I was wrong,” without making excuses.
- Seek counsel from wise leaders and advice from experienced. Decision-makers who seek counsel are in the power position.
- Talk over options in small groups before making declarations to large.
- Love people.
Which power-principles seem most useful to you?
What would you add to the list?
I’m stuck on #26: Practice saying no to something or someone without offering an excuse. How does that make someone a powerful leader?
Priscilla- I wonder if Dan is distinguishing excuse from explanation here. Perhaps it is the idea that a leader should not be defensive or apologetic when communicating a decision or perspective. That doesn’t mean be arbitrary or insensitive- I think it is about a leaders ability to permit him or herself to take decisions that may not be popular, or unanimously supported.
It took some time, and being in a job that pushed me to my physical and mental limits, but I’ve found that a firm, gentle “no” as a response to a request that pushes me, or my team, beyond the limits is the best thing to do. Otherwise work will never get done.
If the team is on-board with a leader, understands the situation and their part in it, and feels empowered and valued: then “no” isn’t a negative thing. It’s what opens to door to saying yes.
I learned the “art of saying no” when I had the privilege to lead a team that was chocked with high performers. We had a tight deadline, no money, and everyone was doing this as extra credit. My job as a leader became all about endurance and focus. How do I keep the team focused? How do I keep them running the race?
No became an essential word in my vocabulary, as it then allowed me to say “yes”.
I really like #14! Holding people in high esteem is so important!
I would just add: “listen, and then listen again.” I think a powerful leader is one that is fully engaged with who they’re leading.
#5 Pour yourself into meaningful purpose.
#6 Spend less time doing things that don’t matter.
# 28 Seek counsel from wise leaders and advice from experienced.
I would add- Provide guidance, mentoring and coaching- Encourage team members to share and pursue their aspirations and/or ideas for growth.
I like #4, which surely helps us when we don’t get answer by doing #28, our own critic can lead us to top.
#14 It also helps ups to be our ownself and not trying to be somebody.
#26 no without an explanation can be seen as lame, I’m the Boss and that is it! When saying “no” I have found you should clarify things at which point in can become a yes, often times no without thinking can be a mistake if you don’t look at the entire picture, from start to finish.
Tim- #26 says “…without an excuse”- it does not say without an explanation.
Thanks Lori, without an excuse I stand corrected, the results can be seen the same.
Excuses are a defensive reaction. Explanations are proactive responses. It’s all in how you say what you say to what is asked. My mother always said, “Never complain, never explain.”
Calling out the elephant in the room is definitely a sign of strong leadership, especially the closer that elephant is directly related to that leader and decisions he/she has made. This can reveal a leader’s level of humility, and their desire for others to learn from them.
Can you expound on #8, please?
Is it safe to assume your are referring to breaking the rules with regard to the “average” leadership roles and responses? And moving forward without permission? This seems a bit contrary to me?
Gleaning all I can…
Thanks hopeful42morrow. Leaders never simply go along with the status quo. They push against things that don’t work in order to find ways to make things work better. Sometimes that means doing things they could “get in trouble” for doing. It is possible to make rule breaking part of organizational culture. Skunk Works may be an example.
I wouldn’t espouse rule-breaking as an excuse for unethical or illegal behavior.
Another example of rule-breaking is going around bureaucratic channels to get something done. Perhaps the age old saying that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission applies?
Thank you Dan! I came across your blog and have found the information so insightful and utilize your tips and encouragement every day! Thanks again!
Dan you said, “Break the rules and move forward without permission.” Can you elaborate on this please?
Effective steps to help become a good leader. I think to lead people you have to love and care for them.