Isn’t it high time we purged that clichéd image of a leader from our psyche? Today, the global economic scenario and neck-to-neck competition demands immense intelligence, or better put, the ability to work smart. Smart is the new intelligent.
Leadership and Global Competitiveness
The same fact applies to leadership too. Exceptional leadership is the order of the day. It is precisely what your team and, in turn, your company needs to soar high amidst cut-throat rivalry.
What Makes an Exceptional Leader?
We all know the common characteristics of a leader – the ability to delegate, effective communication, being honest, being committed, being confident et cetera.
But what is it that will set you apart as a leader? What is it that will make you an indispensible part of your organization and an inspiration to your team? And what is it that will ensure no looking back in your career ever? You need to be distinctive in your approach towards day to day situations in order to be recognized as someone exceptional. Take a look at how exceptional leaders approach common situations differently. And emulate them.
7 Things Exceptional Leaders do Differently
1. Admit When They are Wrong
It does require immense courage to do that doesn’t it? And exceptional leaders have no qualms about admitting their mistakes. This earns even more respect for the leader from the team and attracts similar transparency from team members. After all, leaders lead by example, followers follow!
One of the greatest leaders of the modern times, Steve Jobs, had the distinct ability to own up to his faults and say, ‘hey, I was wrong’.
Chauvinistic ‘leaders’, on the other hand, prefer asserting authority rather than admitting their fault. This is a sign of weakness and does not take one a long way as a leader.
2. Act as a Shock Absorber
Circumstances change and situations may worsen. But panicking under those is hardly a sign of a leader. Exceptional leaders absorb risks and unpleasantness of situations themselves, shielding the rest of the team, not letting their performance suffer.
John Maxwell, famous author and leadership expert, says that a good leader always takes the blame slightly over his share, and credit slightly lesser than his share.
3. They have Confidence in their Team
Some managers may hesitate to share entire information with their teams. Leaders believe in empowering their teams with maximum information and knowledge.
Exceptional leaders go a step further. Having complete confidence and trust in their team, they candidly share problems and issues because they believe that together the team can weather the crisis. They recognize that any bad situation can be made exponentially worse with unconfirmed rumors flying about.
4. They Think Before They Speak
When your people ask you something, you will most likely feel pressure to have an instant answer to that. Resist that urge. It might cause you to blabber incoherently or ramble aimlessly.
Handle it as an exceptional leader would. Pause after the question is posed; think; think longer if necessary; take your time. The silence may be uncomfortable, but what will churn out at the end of it will be an epitome of insight. This will set you apart as a leader.
5. They Go the Right Way, Not the Easy Way
Great leaders listen to their heart and do what is right, rather than what’s easy. They have the courage to handle the repercussions later, rather than minimizing efforts at the outset and twisting their ethics. Like Thomas Jefferson once put it, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
6. They Reserve Time for Self
Great leaders appreciate the fact that continual self-improvement is essential to sustain their usability and effectiveness for their team.
One of the most important exercises for remaining productive, staying inspired and being joyful is nothing else but sleep. Get adequate dose of the same.
Also, it is inevitable to exercise enough to beat the stress of your role as an exceptional leader.
7. They Genuinely Want to Help Others
Exceptional leaders are constantly motivated by their unyielding desire to do good for others. Andrew Carnegie once rightly said that no man who wants the entire credit for achieving something or wants to accomplish it all for his own self can ever make a good leader.
All of you aspiring to become exceptional leaders at work or in life must strive to become someone who you yourself would follow.