From being a good leader to a great leader: 10 things you can do to make the switch
There are good leaders and there are great leaders. While good leaders know how to brilliantly execute particular tasks, great leaders seem to wield transformative magic and power. They have the charisma that inspires people working for them and with them to push their limits and to take their performance to a whole new level.
The transition from being a good leader to great leader may not be easy, but it is definitely doable. Begin your journey to being the best leader you can be with these 10 simple tips.
- Good leaders develop themselves; great leaders develop the potential of others
Good leaders are committed to their own self-improvement. While there is nothing wrong with this, great leaders take it a step further by recognising other people’s potential and develop that potential so that these individuals excel and shine on their own. Great leaders love mentoring; they don’t see up-and-coming talents as threats to their position. They believe that once trained, these hotshots can be valuable assets to the organisation and the world at large.
This pay-it-forward attitude has another amazing impact: knowing that they are valued, younger members of the team go the extra mile to meet their leader’s expectations.
- Good leaders speak, great leaders listen
Good leaders speak and hear what their subordinates are saying, but it is not certain that they are LISTENING. They might not be taking the time to evaluate and consider new ideas and solutions that could make a world of difference.
Great leaders know how to listen and engage others in a productive, insightful discussion. Great leaders take into consideration all individual perspectives and opinions before coming up with a recommendation. Whether they agree with or oppose a particular point, great leaders value the collaborative process and appreciate their team’s diversity.
- Good leaders go from task to task; great leaders see the big picture and work for a higher purpose
What do Nelson Mandela, Al Gore, Malala, and Pope Francis have in common? These great leaders are incredibly passionate. This passion is best unleashed when leaders are championing a cause they care about. They know why they’re doing what they’re doing. And while the material benefits are rewarding, the sense of fulfillment from doing something they love strengthens their commitment to the job. That fire, tenacity, and long-term vision set great leaders apart from everyone else.
- Great leaders take full accountability when the going gets tough and are not afraid to share the glory in times of victory
Great leaders don’t play the blame game and take responsibility for their team’s performance, whatever the outcome. At the same time, they graciously acknowledge everyone’s efforts and share the limelight when things turn out great.
- Good leaders stick to what they know, great leaders go out of their comfort zones to learn and explore
Good leaders stick to what has been tried and tested and are hesitant to rock the boat. Great leaders, on the other hand, value constructive criticism and are not afraid of change if it means a more effective way of doing things. These life-long learners constantly evaluate existing systems and processes for possible improvements; they can, after all, only get better.
- Good leaders concentrate on the now, great leaders plan ahead
Tech legends and visionary leaders like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs have achieved unprecedented success thanks to their extraordinary knack in identifying future trends and innovations as well as the ability to act on their hunches way ahead of the competition. Great leaders must be constantly on the lookout for possibilities, opportunities, and challenges in the horizon to come up with the best decisions for their teammates and organisation.
- Good leaders seek power, great leaders seek more responsibility
One of the main reasons good leaders like to lead is that it gives them power and influence. Great leaders, on the other hand, find fulfillment in being entrusted with more responsibility. They relish the challenge of handling major projects and give each one their best effort. They find joy in delivering a superb performance and in maximising their potential. Great leaders genuinely care about their organisation and do what they can to achieve success.
- Great leaders are reliable and trustworthy
Good leaders might be honest, but will not lose sleep should they discover an easier way to get things done. Great leaders value their integrity, which could not be bought at any price. They are transparent with their dealings even if these take long and arduous routes, and are therefore worthy of being trusted. Systems that operate under great leaders are open, efficient, and reliable.
- Good leaders lead by words, great leaders lead by example
Great leaders live by the motto “Be the change you want to see in this world.” Mahatma Gandhi inspired self-reliance among Indians by putting the concept into action. He wove his own fabrics, fasted, led a simple life and participated in nonviolent protest actions. Great leaders make examples of themselves and do not ask their teams to do something they themselves would not do.
- Great leaders don’t just lead; they serve
While good leaders have the mindset of taking charge and exercising power, great leaders know that they are there to be of service, and practice humility at all times. This inspiring attitude motivates others to think and do the same.
- Great leaders know that it’s lonely to think differently from the rest, and that’s okay
Great leaders dance to the unique melody inside their heads. They are not afraid to go against the norm and shake up belief systems to find new ways of getting things done. Transportation revolutionary Henry Ford said it best: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”. By thinking differently, Ford came up with the car as we know it, and the world was never the same again.