Being a great leader involves doing the hard things that most people don't want to do - and therefore won't.
The results are worth it. As a strong leader, you'll be able to attract the talent and funding you need to realize your vision. As a strong leader, you can inspire greater engagement and higher productivity from everyone around you.
How do leaders achieve such results? By doing hard things on a daily basis.
Here are six examples of the hard things that truly strong leaders do that average and weak leaders do not.
They control their thoughts
The fears and anxieties that we face as founders can constantly stir up a host of emotions. Disciplined leaders know how to control and quiet their thoughts. They harness their power of mind to manage what they can, and then let go of what they can't control. They also know how to think analytically as well as creatively, striking the right balance between innovation and accountability.
They commit to excellence
Leaders conduct themselves in ways that distinguish them from their counterparts and employees while still managing to attract respect, loyalty and goodwill. They are positive and forthright in their pursuit of "better," serving as a constant example of striving to achieve excellence.
Never complacent, leaders are avid learners -- constantly looking to grow their skills and knowledge: by networking, mentoring, volunteering, or simply listening. They also dedicate themselves to personal development and self-awareness.
They embrace hardship
Leaders understand that pursuing great ambitions will typically invite some degree of struggle or self-doubt. While they might not always feel rewarded, strong leaders plow ahead anyway.
Moving forward despite uncertainty is often what differentiates founders who succeed from those who abandon their long-held dreams. Importantly, leaders learn from their mistakes and know there is experience in failure, and set this example for those around them.
They communicate effectively
Highly effective leaders know how to motivate and persuade, and typically engage their employees through empathy and honesty. They pay attention to the power of the words they choose, as well as to nonverbal cues -- leveraging body language, eye contact and other mannerisms to convey their messages. They know how to be likable.
The strongest leaders also know when to communicate and when to hold back. As a leader, you should be disciplined and discerning, choosing the most appropriate time and audience for what you want to share.
They challenge their own beliefs
Effective leaders realize the value of questioning widely held assumptions and biases - those around them, as well as their own. They listen attentively to positions that don't necessarily align with theirs, and ask questions to gain a broader perspective.
It's not an overblown ego or purely contrarian mindset that drives their decisions, but rather a deeply held conviction in a higher mission that necessitates truth-seeking to gain better results. Leaders are seekers of truth.
They think long-term
While successful founders are often obsessed with keeping their enterprises stable over the short term, they are far from short-sighted. They place equal value on making longer-term, transformative choices that will help them realize their future versions -- of their businesses and themselves.
Great leaders make time to reflect and think about the long-term vision of their companies and their careers.
Effective leaders have a strong sense of self when it comes to their image, actions and communication. They make the hard things they do every day seem easy -- by employing strategies that you can put into place as part of your daily practice.