CEOs of public companies are ultimately measured by their ability to increase company earnings, profits, and stock prices. Everything else--building a corporate culture, moving into new markets, crafting bold visions--is, depending on your point of view, either a driver of earnings or a luxury you get to focus on as long as the board stays happy with the company's valuation.

You can't be a great CEO unless you produce earnings, profits, and a rising stock price.

It's no different for a small-business owner: Owners are ultimately measured by their ability to generate profits, because without profits, there is no business. Everything else--doing what you love, giving back to the community, etc.--follows.

You can't be a great small-business owner unless you generate profits.

So what is the one thing every great leader does? For the moment, forget visions. Forget strategies. Forget tactical decisions.

Ultimately, what great leaders do is make every person around them better.

For one employee, that's a little more training. For another, it's encouragement. For another, it's a kick in the butt. For another, it's higher expectations.

Take a look at everyone who works for you. Are those people more skilled than when they joined your company? More proactive? Better communicators? Better team players? Better leaders?

Better performers?

If not, you aren't doing your job.

Great leaders develop every employee. Great leaders make every person around them better.

They know that when they do, everything else follows.