You didn’t get up this morning thinking, “I want to live a meaningless life.” You want something bigger. I’m using the term ‘big’ for meaningful.
Rise above small concerns to experience big leadership.
#1. Big leaders lead with big reasons.
What’s the highest purpose you can live for today?
- What pain-point can you make better?
- Who can you lift?
- How can you help others bring their best selves to current opportunities?
#2. Big leaders lead with big hearts.
One of the first lessons of leadership is it’s about others. You matter more when you get outside yourself and lead with a big heart.
Spend your think-time focused on others, not yourself. Worry more about treating others right than worrying if they are treating you right.
- Speak with empathy, candor, and confidence.
- Practice intense curiosity about people. It’s natural to wonder about results. It’s leaderly to wonder about people.
#3. Big leaders use words that advantage others.
The words you use establish the direction of your team.
Words instill confidence or beat down. Jay Elliot, former Sr. V.P. at Apple and author of, The Steve Jobs Way: ileadership for a new Generation told me that good people tend to beat themselves down. “My job is to build them up.”
- How are people better off as the result of your words?
- What words fuel fires, rather than dousing dreams?
#4. Big leaders help others live for big reasons.
You sometimes hear small concerns during conversations. How might you point people toward bigger opportunities?
- Notice strength in others.
- Tell stories of people who made a difference. How might we emulate them?
- Confront smallness with empathy. “How is this drama helping you get where you want to go?” (It helps to have a good relationship with the person you confront this way.)
What do small leaders do?
How might you practice ‘big’ leadership today?
Hey Dan, I know I have a weak spot as far as “It’s leaderly to wonder about people.” I realize now that I’ve always dismissed it to some extent, but now I wonder how many opportunities has this already cost me. Thanks for highlighting it.
I guess the way forward is, as you say “practice intense curiosity”. In other words. Try, evaluate, try again. Any other advice you have would be deeply appreciated!
This message came in just the right morning.
It was one of those days when I just felt like a middle man – my purpose was not worthy. But, now thanks to this encouraging message I will start this day and the rest with a more positive frame of mind.
Thank you for lifting my spirit!
Small leaders major in minor things instead of important things.
Great thought provoking article, Dan. I’m motivated to self-reflect on a few points in here and make some improvements. Thanks for that!
To be honest, my most effective role as a Leader is NOT at work. I am a doer who sometimes makes my own dreams come true, but I am usually “consumed” with work completing tasks, on time, thorough and detailed and worthwhile. As a boomer I am generally (unfortunately) NOT inspired by the work ethic or output or even attitude of the younger ones I work with. Not sorry I say it, its just honest and raw from what I see experience and gauge response from my efforts with them. Maybe I could be more effective if I had the time to spend building them, but alas I do not have that time and do not see said time coming up anytime soon. Again, raw, honest and reflective of the situation I am in. My most effective leadership is and has been for and with my now adult children; 25 year old Married Daughter and her husband and 23 year old College attending son. I set an example by my obsessive work ethic for them, by my focus, by my yes impatience, by my honesty and subtle nature and by being there to talk thru life and what life presents for them, even as focused as I am. It seems to work well (they say yes Dad you are so different than others) and keeps me on “purpose”. Beyond that I suffer from SDS (spread sheet derangement syndrome) and can’t seem to get out of that current other “purpose”
Thank you so much. The messages are practical, easy to understand.