My 30 years of management consulting has afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the best, and worse, leaders around. What I've discovered as a result that regardless of one's particular leadership gifts and foibles, a leader can always become better, if they set their mind to it. 

Indeed, the difference between a run-of-the-mill leader and one that many would consider exceptional is the willingness and dedication to improve. As the old adage suggests, all you have to do is try.

With that, here are 10 things that you can try to help you to become a better leader:

1.     Stop Being a Jerk: Bad bosses are ones that typically discount their people and treat them like disposable commodity.  You don't have to be that person.  Rather, just try to be a decent person. Respect other's opinions and seek out differing points of view. It will make you more approachable and a commitment to being a decent person may be your first step towards becoming a better leader.

2.     Be a Disruptor: Some of the best leaders give themselves the right to dare to think differently than others.  Think Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Bill Gates.  Work to become deliberate in challenging the status quo, and you just might begin to gain a followership within the rank-and-file of your business.

3.     Envision Tomorrow: Vision is another characteristic of remarkable leaders.  Work to connect disparate ideas from multiple disciplines within your business, and you may begin to see patterns that can lead to breakthrough ideas about the future. 

4.     Become a Story Teller: Great leaders communicate at all levels.  They tend to use stories to get their ideas across. Work on crafting engaging and informative narratives as a way to communicate and inspire and watch how your leadership cred grows within your organization.

5.     Radiate Trust: Would you follow someone that you don't trust? Neither will your people! The best thing that you can do to build trust is to say what you mean and do what you say.  Is that simple.

6.     Promote "In It Togetherness:" There is no "I" in team.  You can foster the notion that your team wins together by being inclusive and consciously leveraging all of the skills and experiences that your people bring to work each day.

7.     Be an Enabler: Inevitably, your team will confront resistance and adversity in their quest to perform.  Be a leader that they can count on by identifying and knocking out the organizational road blocks that can hinder your team's success.  This is a trait of a leader worth following.

8.     Continually Coach: One of your key roles as a leader is to develop those that work for you.  Don't forget to continually teach and coach your team. Remember, you win when they win (see "In It Together" above), so it's in your best interest to help them become all that they can be.

9.     Keep Score: It's essential that you recognize results, not effort. If your people see that you fairly disseminate praise and rewards based on results and not favoritism, they'll give you their best effort. After all, your willingness to not play favorites is part of being honest leader. 

10.  Adopt an Outsider's POV: Valued leaders are ones that keep it fresh and challenging.  One way to accomplish this is to adopt an outsider's point of view of your operation. Think of the impressions that you team and business leave in the eyes of your stakeholders, and you just may see ways to make things better for your business and properly motivate your team.

To close, I hope that you find these ideas worth a try.  Done well, you will become a brilliant leader.  Keep in mind, though, it does require effort and a commitment to continually develop new leadership skills and behaviors on your part. With that, the sky is the limit.

Published on: Nov 13, 2018
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