The Top 10 Ways to be an Extraordinary Leader Today
- Work on internal environments. You can’t control the external world, but you can control the way you do things internally. Grab the bull by the horns, if you don’t like what you see when you look around.
- Define wins in behavioral terms, not just by results. Identify, honor, and recognize behaviors that produce great results. Leaders who focus only on results use people. Leaders who focus on behaviors develop people.
- Drive toward clarity and simplicity. Complexity is a lazy leader’s legacy. Any fool can make something complex. It takes wisdom to simplify. The path to simplicity and clarity is painful. Chaos happens all by itself.
- Ignite and manage momentum.
- Set short-term goals.
- Celebrate imperfect progress.
- Remember the big picture.
- Feel the emotion of others. Feel sorrow with the sorrowful and happiness with the joyful. Be upset when others are upset, at least a little. Lack of empathy makes others feel you don’t understand them.
- Connect the dots. Remarkable leaders explore how plans impact employees, customers, and the people actually doing the work. One way to connect the dots is to include the people doing the work in making the plans.
- Relentlessly focus on imperfect forward movement. Spend less time perfecting before-you-go and more time adapting as-you-go. Try things.
- Spend more time energizing the energetic than reigniting long-term burnouts. (I’m not suggesting you completely ignore black holes. But, if you’re better off without them, admit it.)
- Dive under the surface when things go wrong.
- What’s the whole story?
- What did you actually try? Remarkable leaders don’t accept general statements like, “I tried but it didn’t work.”
- What didn’t work?
- What will we do next time?
- Dive under the surface when things go right.
Which one of these leadership behaviors is most important for you today? How might you put it into practice?
What behavior would you add to the list of 10 ways to be an extraordinary leader?
Dan, thanks so much once again. I need all the help I can get. I have a very strong creative brain and need to work hard to implement structure and routine, which is what I need to get my projects finished.
This is the important one for me: Relentlessly focus on imperfect forward movement.
I have been going over and over my book and struggling with the overall structure in my head. I have just written 33, 770 words for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge so I am capable of the routine and following the plan and delivering. I have also already written much of the material, so it really is a matter of organisation and building a thread throughout. Not a big job really but I do get caught up in getting it right the first time and go round and round in my head and don’t get started. Think I’ll post note this point to my desk!! xx Rowena
“Dive under the surface…”
I have one boss that does this VERY well. “Make no excuses, take no excuses.” Ultimately it makes our day easier because it clears us to spend time tackling stubborn problems rather than sweeping them under the rug.
Do this when things go right and it builds appreciation for what goes into making things work well.
You have discussed the deeper side of leadership behavior. It is true that clarity requires work and showing confusion is easy. Clarity needs effort and it needs exploration. Extraordinary leaders dive deeper to find out fundamental reasons. That is why they are extraordinary. Ordinary leaders do not dive, instead look for obvious causes.
I appreciate that leaders should focus on behavior, not results. It makes sense and describes the inner world of people. It also shows their intention which may not be revealed only by results.
I always believe that extraordinary leaders inspire people and surroundings. They create workplace healthy and better place to work. I would like to add one behavior here- knowing the potential of person and grooming it to align with organizational goals. Once it is done, people develop loyalty and commitment.
Great points! Some of this is familiar but some of it raises some new areas to explore. Very useful. Thanks!
My “One Word” for this year is Clarity! Getting there is painful, but not as painful as staying in the chaos. Professionally I’m leading my new geographically dispersed team through a re-org that affects everyone. Almost everything needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. At times it feels like trudging through waist deep mud. Bursts of success, regardless of magnitude, are wonderfully exciting & rewarding & should be celebrated.
Recognize behaviors .. it is so easy to focus on results … this leaves the individual entirely out of the picture unless the results are not achieved in which case we start pummeling them for failure …
“Imperfect” forward movement is an excellent point! This is a tough area for many of us. When there is an unreasonable expectation regarding mistakes, we can often spend so much time trying to make perfect plans that we miss the opportunity
Excellent list as usual!!! Combining #3 and #7, “It’s best to start forward with small simple steps to accomplish important complex things.”
I usually have disdain for lists, but you have a good one here. Well done.
Every point you make is right on target not to mention that you get to the point quickly and succinctly! You practice what you preach.