Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18 10 Forgotten Truths About Happiness 10 Ways To Go From Being A Good Leader To A Great Leader 11 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

Trending in Productivity

1 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits 2 How Your Attitude Determines Your Success 3 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 4 How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over? 5 Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

Advertising

But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

Advertising

The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

Advertising

I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

Advertising

More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

Read Next