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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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