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3 Things Successful Leaders Do that Average Leaders Don’t Do

The things left out are often the things that make the greatest difference.

I often ask groups to make a list of things leaders do. I’ve never had them list the most important things. Never.

Typically, when asked, groups say leaders:

  1. Delegate
  2. Cast vision.
  3. Get things done.
  4. Lead teams and meetings.
  5. Challenge people and processes.
  6. Practice accountability.
  7. Give feedback.

The longer the list, the more conspicuous the absences.

What top leaders do that average leaders don’t do:

#1. Make self-improvement a priority.

I’ve never had a group say, “Leaders improve their own leadership,” when I ask them what leaders do.

Improvement is the FIRST necessity of success.

If you can’t name something you’re working to improve, you’re on the decline.

Too much enthusiasm for improving others is a smoke-screen that allows you to feel superior. You see the weaknesses of those around you and wrongly think you’ve arrived. Thinking you’ve arrived is the first sign you haven’t.

Smug criticism of others is an excuse for personal stagnation.

#2. Bring their best selves to work.

Successful leaders:

  1. Understand that leadership is about who you are before it’s about what you do. “Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do.” Francis Hesselbein
  2. Practice self-reflection.
  3. Exercise emotional intelligence.
  4. Leverage strengths. Most spend way too much time fixing weaknesses. Yes, some weaknesses need to be mitigated, but success requires you to maximize your strengths.

#3. Practice self-care.

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s smart. Take care of yourself if you want a fulfilling career with expanding impact and usefulness.

The belief that you can burn the candle at both ends destroys you.

Rasmus Hougaard’s research indicates the very top leaders:

  1. Get adequate sleep.
  2. Exercise emotional intelligence.
  3. Eat healthy.
  4. Work hard in a kind way.

What do average leaders do that top leaders avoid?

What could you do today that would reflect a commitment to becoming a successful leader?

Bonus: Rasmus Hougaard on Facebook Live discussing the behaviors of the very top leaders.

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