If you're looking to become a great leader--as a manager, as a boss, as an entrepreneur--you must start from the qualities that make you different from the rest.
How many of these do you already emulate? How many have you yet to acquire?
If you want to be great:
1. Make people feel valuable.
People need to be valued. Great leaders make people feel that they are at the heart, that they're part of making things happen.
2. Make the time to connect.
Spend time getting to know those you're leading. Don't lord it over anyone; instead, listen. When you connect, you are investing in building even more connection.
3. Be honest and straightforward even when the news is bad.
Always speak honestly and with candor. Show that you are not afraid to speak the truth in any situation.
4. Take the heat.
If the blame is yours--whether because of your direct action, an unsuccessful strategy, or a failure of your leadership--accept it. Don't make excuses, pass the buck, or throw others under the bus.
5. Share the credit.
The best leaders know that they could not have accomplished much on their own. It takes a team, a group, to make things happen, so give each member of that team credit for your success.
6. Give praise, and do it often.
Make sure those you're leading receive the attention, the appreciation, and the affirmation they deserve.
7. Delegate responsibility without micromanaging.
Delegation doesn't mean dismissing people or leaving them hanging or set up to fail. The process of delegation should include help, coaching, and guidance where it's needed. Things get done right, and your team members grow.
8. Celebrate skills, and appreciate talent.
Look for the best in others, and help them celebrate their skills and strengths.
9. Challenge the status quo, and don't settle for mediocrity.
Remember, innovation starts at the edge of discomfort, and great progress happens when you take chances.
10. Invest in your people, and make them feel important.
Whatever you spend in terms of time, energy, and money to keep those you're leading growing and learning, in the long run it's less than the steep cost of no development and no learning.
11. Encourage and inspire.
Motivate people to be their best even when they don't know their potential yet.
12. Build team spirit, and encourage inclusiveness.
Place a higher value on team spirit than achievement. When you concentrate on spirit, you gain long-term success.
The leaders who differentiate themselves from the rest aren't necessarily the leaders who have all the power, but they are the leaders that have the ability to empower. They win people's hearts by helping, developing, praising, encouraging, and motivating. They are the leaders that are different from the rest of us.