Advertising
Advertising

7 Things Truly Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

7 Things Truly Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

There are leaders and there are leaders. We have good leaders, bad leaders, great leaders, and we also have ordinary and extraordinary leaders. Do you want to be an outstanding leader? If your answer is yes, then you need to know the attributes of extraordinary leaders. I want to share 10 of these attributes with you so you can begin to work on your leadership abilities till you become an outstanding leader too.

They Praise

Outstanding leaders love to praise. They praise their team, they praise their family, they praise the government, they praise their children, and they praise everything and everyone around them. They know the power of praise, that it makes people go the extra mile to get results. Ordinary leaders on the other hand prefer to criticize. They feel that praising a subordinate is a sign of weakness. They never get satisfied, and even when they are, they don’t show it.

Advertising

They take responsibility

The leader is responsible for the success or failure of her team, it’s very saddening that most of the people occupying leadership positions today tend to put the blame on their team members each time something goes wrong. I once coached a female volleyball team for a particular volleyball tournament, we had trained harder than any other team and we were really prepared for the tournament. Unfortunately, we lost our first match and were knocked out of the tournament. Fundamentally, it wasn’t my fault that the team lost, we had a weak player (whose performance was outstanding in training) in the team on that day. She didn’t do well because she was afraid and the opponent capitalized on it. I took the blame for the defeat firstly, for not substituting her earlier in the game (I expected her to pick up her pace) and secondly for not overlooking that weakness of fear (which I had noticed during our training sessions). So you see, it’s always the leader’s fault one way or another.

Challenge Ideas

Truly outstanding leaders don’t believe in norms. They are creative people who are always looking for better, faster and more productive ways of getting things done. They challenge every idea and ask questions like: “Why this?” “What if we did it this way?” “Is this the best way to make this?” “What if we add this feature?” “Will this be relevant in the next ten years?” and so on.

Advertising

Lead by Example

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”~ John C. Maxwell. Outstanding leaders don’t give their followers impossible tasks. If an extraordinary leader tells a subordinate to walk on water, it means he must have walked on water himself. Outstanding leaders ‘walk the talk’, they don’t say what they can’t do and they don’t do what they can’t say. They are people of integrity and great character.

Give Feedback

Outstanding leaders give feedback to their followers, ordinary leaders don’t. I was speaking with a friend some time ago, he told me how his boss used to call him and point out all the errors in his work with the use of a red pen, then the boss will say, “I expect something better from you”. He was always lost because his boss didn’t have a standard, she never said what she wanted, and she never expressed satisfaction in whatever he did, so he didn’t know when he was right or wrong. She never really gave feedback, all she did was criticize and point out all errors. That is not how to be an outstanding leader.

Advertising

Seek Help

Ordinary leaders don’t like to ask for a helping hand especially from a follower. They don’t want to look weak or incompetent. They are full of pride and believe that they are always right or that they should always be right. They discard everyone’s opinion and hold on firmly to their beliefs even if it will cost them their lives. Outstanding leaders are humble and patient. They ask for their followers’ opinions on almost every matter even when they might already have the answer. They understand that learning is continuous and respect their followers’ knowledge and areas of expertise. They make better, more logical decisions than the ordinary leaders who depend solely on their own knowledge.

Lead Leaders

Outstanding leaders lead leaders. They don’t leave the people they lead without leaving them better than they found them. They share knowledge freely and cheerfully and they don’t hoard experience. They love to teach, impart and impact. They want their followers to know everything they know. They are always thinking of the future and what it will be like without them. They ask: “if I’m not here, will this work continue?”

Advertising

Outstanding leaders live better lives, create better opportunities, impact more people, believe the best about everyone and everything, shape the future and ultimately make the world a better place. WHAT KIND OF LEADER ARE YOU?

Featured photo credit: Cubs coach delivers/Roy Luck via flickr.com

More by this author

Who Is The Richest Person In The World? And What Makes Him Rich? 7 Things Truly Outstanding Leaders Do Differently 9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team 5 Key Principles For Finding Your Way To the Greatest Success Top 7 Regrets of People Who Are Dying

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next