“Amazing leaders know diversity is critical to success, so they find ways to work with those who are different from them.” — Misti Burmeister
What separates bad or mediocre leaders from the truly great ones – you know, the ones who have productive, innovative, collaborative teams made up of happy workers who are dedicated to the company’s vision and success?
For starters, amazing leaders:
- What you can do: Invest time every week asking the hard questions and holding people accountable. Don’t just focus on your shining stars. The best leaders also champion the success of those in whom they see potential.
2. Steward their teams. More than a decade ago, Robin Sharma, author of the bestselling book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, said, “In the past, we got a sense of community from where we lived. In the new age of work, employees seek their sense of community and connection from the workplace.”Amazing leaders are always looking for ways to create connection and community among their teams.
- What you can do: Bring your team together. Give them plenty of opportunities to deepen their connections and really get to know each other – in both work and social environments.
3. Create opportunities. Amazing leaders know that very few people are clear about exactly what we’re good at, what we want to do, or where we want to do that thing that inspires us. Gaining new experiences helps us uncover our passions and land opportunities that allow us play to our strengths.
- What you can do: Invite employees to meetings, include them in the decision-making process, and help them see how you make decisions. Watch the way they make decisions and provide feedback.
4. Resolve conflict before it becomes an issue. We’ve all felt the tension of disagreement, distrust and frustration. When allowed to fester, those feelings consume precious energy, and our teams end up spending their time thinking, “Why did they do that? Are they angry with me? Why do we have these stupid rules?”
- What you can do: As soon as everyone has calmed down, acknowledge the frustration and refocus the group/individual on the greater vision/mission they are working to achieve.
5. Tell the truth. Amazing leaders are honest and transparent with their teams. They find kind ways to bring difficult conversations to the surface and to create learning opportunities.
- What you can do: Lead by example. Even when certain information is confidential, your team members will know that something is up. But the thing they care most about is that someone is watching out for them, so tell them what you can and ensure they know that you’re in their corner.
6. Demonstrate high standards. Amazing leaders spend very little time talking about motivation, persistence, passion or follow-through. They’re too busy showing the way. They purposefully plan activities that inspire and provide perspective.
- What you can do: If you are frustrated with your team’s results, consider shifting your own habits. Too many leaders want high-performing, happy employees but are unwilling to crack a smile or to get inspired themselves. Amazing leaders lead the way.
7. Are always growing. Amazing leaders know that to stop learning would be the death of their careers. They never pretend to know everything. Instead, they’re always listening, asking questions, learning new skills, and gaining new experiences.
- What you can do: Write out a list of skills/experiences you want to gain in the next six months to a year. Create a list of books to read by the end of the year and share this list with your team. Encourage them to share what they learn with you and their colleagues.
8. Refine their approach. It’s easy to hire people just like you – the type that don’t irritate you in the least. But amazing leaders know diversity is critical to success, so they find ways to work with those who are different from them.
- What you can do: Take a look at your current team. Are they always easy-going and quick to agree with you? Do they ever challenge your thought process or provide perspectives you hadn’t considered? Encourage them to challenge and disagree with you.
- What can you do: Encourage people to enjoy their work (and lives) by doing so yourself. Plan fun activities during your week that have nothing to do with work. Your team will see you enjoying yourself and follow your lead.
10. Create a pipeline of excellence. The most amazing leaders are those you can’t help but emulate. Both Andrew Rose and Greg Conderacci are shining examples of amazing leaders to whom people flock for inspiration.
- What you can do: Ask yourself, “If others imitated my actions and behavior, would the world be a better place?” Also consider: “What behaviors have I noticed in the amazing leaders I want to imitate?”
Keeping it simple,
Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations, Hidden Heroes and Power Suck.