Even in a room full of people who are skilled, experienced, and successful, you will occasionally come across a leader who distinguishes himself or herself. You can tell in a moment that they think, behave, and lead in a fundamentally different way than the majority of people.
However, those rare people can not become impressive leaders overnight. Although some people have a natural talent for leadership from birth, most truly exceptional leaders are developed over time. They gain the ability to make snap decisions through the combination of coaching, experience, and a helping of healthy self-reflection and the importance of establishing functional daily routines. Leaders gain the ability to collaborate with people of varying personalities and acquire the skills necessary to nourish, encourage, and inspire others.
Eventually, those abilities will become second nature and reflexive. Behind the scenes, great leaders engage in a substantial amount of mental processing, but this processing is not visible to followers. They take action in the here and now, in the thick of things, when people are looking to them and needing them the most. Leaders can act with speed, they act decisively, and they act with confidence.
When recognizing employees is nothing more than a checkmark on a very long list of things to do, this is very obvious. We’ve been all-around individuals who, every once in a while, weirdly shake a few hands or pat a few backs, and we’ve all done it ourselves. Their insincerity shines through even though they put a lot of effort into appearing sincere. (You can’t tell me that you haven’t dealt with at least one supervisor like that.)
Because no one receives an adequate amount of praise, truly excellent leaders view the ability to express gratitude, provide praise, and provide recognition as a gift that cannot be given an adequate amount of times. Praise is something that a truly fantastic leader does without even thinking about it; it is organic, instant, regular, and most importantly, authentic and heartfelt.
They Make Decisions
Ideas are wonderful but the execution is everything. Outstanding leaders rapidly evaluate, analyze, determine, and then instantly act — because decisiveness and action boost confidence and velocity. For this reason, it is often preferable to make a decision, even if it is a poor one, rather than to make no judgment at all.
The vast majority of times, errors can be rectified. Although you should never stop trying, there are very few situations in which you have to get it right on the first try. The ability to adjust, learn, and refine one’s approach to achieve one’s goals is much more important.
They Accept Ownership of Their Actions
We are all guilty of making poor choices. What matters is how we choose to move forward after we have made those errors. Exceptional leaders are among the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake and own up to it. The most effective leaders are the first to acknowledge, “I should not have gone with that option. We can’t continue down this path.”
Outstanding leaders have a natural tendency to admit their errors promptly and frequently. This is not only because they are quick to accept responsibility for their actions, but also because they are eager to foster an environment in which errors are viewed as mere obstacles to be overcome and not as occasions to place blame or point fingers.
They Are Good Communicators
What to do, what to say, what to enforce, and even what to feel can all be found in the business world, which is filled with “whats”.
What is Frequently Lacking is an Explanation of Why
Because of this, a significant number of jobs, methods, and duties fail. Tell me what to do, and I will try to achieve it; tell me why, assist me in comprehending why, help me believe, and make that why my mission as well…and I will run through metaphorical brick walls to do what seems to be unthinkable.
Exceptional leaders explain. The next step in the process is listening, which is a significantly more important component of effective communication than speaking.
They Are a Model for Others to Follow
Imagine that you are touring a manufacturing facility with the site manager and that you notice a piece of garbage on the floor. When something like that occurs, there are two categories of people:
- One of them notices it, comes to a stop, steps over to it, grabs it, crumples it up like a beer can, and strides twenty meters to a garbage can to throw it away. He did pick up the garbage however he also made a point with his actions.
- The other person moves over to it without breaking their stride, picks it up, crumples it, and then continues talking while he waits to dispose of it until he comes across a trash can that is conveniently located. He is not considering making a public statement at this time. He simply came across some rubbish… and grabbed it without giving it much thought.
Simple example? Sure. But in a way that is extremely telling, particularly to staff members.
Why? Your actions are observed by the staff. When you’re in control, everyone looks up to you and follows your lead. How you carry out your responsibilities— and what those responsibilities reveal about you—is what makes the difference. Exceptional leaders accomplish their goals for no other reason than the fact that doing so is significant to them. Because of this, they are who they are. They are more concerned with getting things done than displaying their accomplishments, and over time, this trait has rubbed off on the people they collaborate with.
They Provide Constructive Criticism
We all have the desire to better ourselves, whether that means becoming more skilled, more refined, or more successful. For this reason, each one of us needs to receive constructive feedback. Since they regard their staff not only as workers but also as individuals, exceptional leaders have an innate tendency to approach those employees who are having difficulty and offer assistance “I have faith in your abilities. I’m going to be of assistance to you.”
Think back to a time when someone told you something that you needed to hear but didn’t want to hear but was necessary for you to hear. They made major changes in your life. Because they care, exceptional leaders are naturally motivated to make positive changes in the lives of those they lead, even if doing so causes them discomfort.
They Look for Assistance
The majority of people in positions of authority, at some point in time, will start to avoid showing any indications of vulnerability. Considering that you are in charge of everything, it is expected of you that you are aware of everything. No way that could happen. You cannot possibly know everything there is to know about your job. Excellent leaders never pretend that they are experts in every field. (In point of fact, they make it a point to hire people who are more knowledgeable than they are.) Because of this, they ask questions naturally. They make it a habit to ask for assistance.
In doing so, they demonstrate an ability to listen and honor the knowledge and abilities possessed by others, as well as vulnerability, each of which is a characteristic that distinguishes exceptional leaders. Moreover, they respect the knowledge and abilities possessed by others.
They Challenge Their Employees
The majority of leaders put their ideas into action by mandating methods and procedures that are consistent with those ideas. However, for employees, satisfaction and engagement are primarily dependent on the amount of autonomy and freedom they are given. When something is entirely mine—my idea, my process, or my responsibility—I take it much more seriously. When I feel that people count on me to make crucial choices and when they give me the jurisdiction to do what’s right, that’s when I start caring the most about what happens.
Exceptional leaders establish comprehensive rules and guidelines, and then they challenge their staff by providing them with the freedom and independence to work in the manner in which they are most productive. They make it possible for workers to transform work from being “yours” to being “ours,” thereby transforming it into outward manifestations of each individual’s specific set of abilities, skills, and perspectives. That’s the kind of challenging task that every worker wants to take on, and it’s the kind of challenge that exceptional leaders instinctually offer.