Three Surprising Skills of the World’s Top Leaders*
You cannot lead effectively until you can lead yourself.
“To be an effective leader you need to understand and manage yourself well.” Rasmus Hougaard (video)
The idea that top leaders are burning the candle at both ends is a myth according to research by Harvard Business Review. (Reported by Rasmus Hougarrd)
Top leaders take care of themselves.
- Adequate sleep.
- Healthy diet.
- Hard work and self-care. Top leaders work hard in a kind way.
Self-leadership is the beginning of leadership.
3 surprising skills of the world’s top leaders:
47%* of the time our minds are wandering. To be successful you must focus your wandering mind.
- Focus on the task at hand.
- Practice self-awareness. You must see yourself in order to manage your leadership.
Practice self-confident selflessness. Don’t be a doormat.
Two practices of selfless leaders:
- Humility: Realize you are one of many.
- Gratitude: A natural out-flowing of humility.
At the end of the day write down the names of three people who contributed to your success. Give them a call or write them a note.
86% of top leaders believe compassion is extremely important to their success. (video)
- Show up to advantage others.
- Do hard things with kindness.
Choose to BE good and to DO good.
What do you see top leaders practicing?
*Research by Harvard Business Review. Reported in The Mind of the Leader.
This post is adapted from my conversation with Rasmus Hougaard on Facebook Live.
Books I’ve read in March:
- The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter
- Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges 2nd Edition by C. Otto Scharmer. For insights from Scharmer’s book, click here.
- Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told to Do Is Wrong by Ira Chaleff. For insights from Chaleff’s book click here.
- The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam. For insights from Halberstam’s book click here.
Added and completed:
- The Courageous Follower by Ira Chaleff
- Great at Work by Morten Hansen
- Servant Leadership in Action by multiple co-authors. (Underway)
- The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications by C. Otto Scharmer (Underway)
Thanks for the post. Mindfulness for the win! I see this as a bit of an “invisible” skill. People can’t see whether a leader is mindful, but mindful leaders take care of how they are impacting the people around them.
I also see top leaders practicing confidence without ego. Enough confidence to be comfortable being challenged (and to be wrong), but not enough so that you know all the answers.
Once you let go of needing to be right or needing to be the top dog, things get a lot easier in my experience!
I’m thinking focusing on what’s important, the trivial things they put in order of importance.
Sharing their expertise so others can learn.
These are all good suggestions. Thank you. I’m a bit surprised, however, that it’s necessary to confirm the need for “self-confident” selflessness. To be selfless, you must be self-confident. It’s a given. It can’t work any other way. Even more disconcerting to me is the call to action, “Don’t be a doormat.” That “doormat” and “selflessness” are mentioned in the same article boggles my mind. The warning sign is simply not necessary. “Doormat” and “selflessness” would never share space. Nor could they. Coupling them feels like a defensive posture, one that reflects an unconscious fear of losing something and a lack of self-confidence. Selflessness is an attribute of the authentically powerful versus those who thrive on external power. Selflessness opens doors and invites people in … even when their boots are muddied.
Good post! This weekend I told 30 of my subordinate soldiers that my job, as their leader, is to facilitate THEIR success. Leadership is reciprocal, they work for me but, equally, I work for them and it is all in order to accomplish the mission.
Great Post and picture.!
Leaders must lead themselves first.John Maxwell often says” The most difficult person I lead is John Maxwell” I know I am the most difficult person I lead as well!
Show up to advantage others. Love the concept. Everybody has a shot at advancement, winning and growth…
Thanks Dan. Your posts continue to feed my desire to learn and be the best leader that I can on a daily basis.