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10 Ways To Go From Being A Good Leader To A Great Leader

10 Ways To Go From Being A Good Leader To A Great Leader

Good leaders are well… good. But great leaders can do magic; they can kindle passion in those working with them and they can scale new heights that no one has dreamed of before. Going from being a good to a great leader isn’t a piece of cake, but we’ve got some fantastic tips to help you become the greatest leader you can be. So watch out, here are 10 sure ways with which you can go from being a good to a great leader.

1. Good leaders develop themselves, Great leaders develop others

Good leaders try to improve different aspects of their personality. A great leader goes one step further by identifying talented minds and developing them so that they can grow into much worthier assets. Great leaders are willing to make more space at the top positions for the rightly talented people instead of considering younger talents as threats to their own power. Great leaders invest on human capital and take personal care to ensure the growth of valuable minds, for this is surest path to progress for any organization or community.

Great leaders know that genuinely caring for team members has an additional positive effect: it fills their team-members with gratitude and inspires them to ready action for their leader’s commands.

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2. Good leaders are good speakers, Great leaders are great listeners

Good leaders often speak more than their subordinates do. And while a good leader hears what their team members have to say; but they might not be truly listening, i.e., engaging with and processing others’ unique ideas and suggestions.

A great leader, however, really listens, carefully understands and critically evaluates to their team-mates’ individual viewpoints. Depending on the opinion’s validity, the leader might choose to adopt, ignore or offer suggestions to improve the idea, but regardless of the end result, they are genuinely interesting in processing to what their team has to say and appreciate the value of diverse viewpoints.

3. Great leaders work first for the cause, and then for the organization. They understand why they’re there

It is easier to go from being a good leader to a great leader when you’re in an organization whose end results support a cause you are passionate about. When we know that our work will make our world a better place or give us more than just power/monetary benefits, an inner desire awakens to commit ourselves wholly. This brings a new wave of enthusiasm towards our work that’s perhaps required when we want to go from being a good to a great leader. Great leaders truly understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.

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So it isn’t surprising that the greatest leaders, like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King have all worked towards some greater purpose; they knew why they were there.

4. Great leaders take full ownership during failure and let their team-members shine in times of success

The former Indian president and space-scientist A.P.J Abdul Kalam recounts this as a valuable lesson when he worked as a scientist in Indian Space Research Organization. He recalls how Prof. Satish Dhawan – the Chairman of ISRO under whom he once worked as a space scientist- took full responsibility at the national press conference for the SLV-3 satellite failure, instead of blaming the project’s humiliating fiasco on his team (that included Abdul Kalam himself). Great leaders, Kalam says, must know to manage success, but more importantly, to manage failure.

5. Good leaders stick to safety, but great leaders continuously learn, evaluate and are always open to change

Great leaders accept change for progress and appreciate constructive criticism. They personally are life-long learners; they always evaluate themselves, their organization and the practices in place to look for better ways of being, and doing things. They accept and seriously evaluate feedback, even when it comes from those who work under them.

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6. Good leaders focus on the present, great leaders anticipate

Great leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are known for their extraordinary skill in anticipating what the trends for their organization, different fields of investment etc. would look like in the future. To become a great leader we must we constantly be vigilant about the future possibilities, opportunities and risks for ourselves, our teammates and our organization so that we can make the best possible decisions in the present to steer into the right path in the future.

6.  While good leaders seek more power, great leaders seek more responsibility

Great leaders love leading not because of the immense power it gives them but because of the important responsibilities it confers on them. Good leaders focus of clinching maximum power and holding onto it; in the long term, this might prove detrimental to the very organization that they are leading. On the other hand, great leaders seek more responsibility and therefore focus on addressing their responsibilities with their best efforts. This helps them deliver the most optimal results for their company and also helps them to utilize more and more of their potential. Because great leaders genuinely care about the organization and the cause they are working for, and because they don’t waste their energy in merely plotting to accumulate more power, they uplift their organizations to a new, stellar level of success.

7. Great leaders have integrity and therefore, reliability and trustworthiness.

Great leaders are trustworthy because they are honest. As integrity breeds transparency, the systems that operate under a great leader are open and therefore reliable. While good leaders might act honest, and look for the quickest way of getting things done, great leaders actually practice honesty, even if it makes a process longer and more challenging.

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8. A great leader leads by example; their actions, not words set the trail for others to follow

Mahatma Gandhi motivated millions of Indians to be self-reliant by being so himself. He weaved his own khadi cloth on his spinning wheel before encouraging the masses to follow suit; he fasted, led a simple life and participated in non-violent satyagrahas (non co-operation movements) himself before propagating these practices to an entire nation. Great leaders make themselves the example. They don’t ask their team to do what they themselves wouldn’t like to.

9. Great leaders don’t simply ‘head’ the team with arrogance, the serve the team with humility

Great leaders know that to be a leader means to serve and not to boss over those who work with you. By changing their attitude to that of rendering service instead of exercising power, great leaders overcome pompousness and obtain humility. This in turn, inspires and evokes admiration and support from his/her followers, improving the performance of the entire team.

10. Great leaders think radically different. They don’t seek faster horses, they think cars.

Great leaders don’t listen to and merely improvise the idea of the crowd. Instead they think of entirely new ways by which things can be done. Henry Ford once said, “if I had listened to the customers, I would have gone looking for faster horses”. Because though people had for long, been discussing the idea of a horseless carriage for transportation in Henry Ford’s time, they only ask faster horses for better transportation from Ford’s company. But as a great, creative leader, Ford came with an entirely new approach for more efficient locomotion: cars.

Featured photo credit: Marc nozell via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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