5 Rules for Being a Great Leader – Here’s the Short List

A very smart man recently told me that being a leader is not about the position or role, but about the action and goal. Great ones set out to make a difference, to inspire greatness in others, and to eventually create more leaders. They show rather than tell. They give credit and take responsibility.

These are the 5 things that great leaders do differently.

1. Let Go of Control

Believe it or not, great leaders understand that not everything is in their power. They also know and accept that their knowledge is limited. Even when it comes to tough decisions, the best ones realize that delegating responsibility and empowering others to learn is the smartest trick in the CEO book.

Don’t be a one-man band, but give autonomy to the right people. Otherwise, micromanaging will drive everyone crazy. Only by letting go of control, a leader can foster an atmosphere of productivity and creativity, the one in which every person within a team has clear accountabilities and contributions.

2. Do Not Make Excuses When It Comes to Being a Respectable Leader

Simon Sinek said: “Great leaders don’t blame the tools they are given. Great leaders work to sharpen them”. If you’re in position of power, please remember that excuses are not allowed. Being a leader in command means that every setback and lack of progress is on you, even if it’s somebody else’s fault.

Accept the blame and grow from it, as all true leaders do. Show responsibility for your actions, and others will deem you respectable and trustworthy. People want to follow those who support accountability and ethical behaviour, which is why integrity remains one of the top leadership traits.

3. Never, Ever Forget That Your Team Members Deserve a First Class Seat, Not the Client or the Bottom Line

To hard-working businessmen, customers should be a priority number one. To leaders, however, the most important person should be an employee. Your team members are the ones who make it all possible in the first place, so never forget to make them feel as they were the brightest rock stars.

Always treat them with kindness and respect. A study performed by the ADP Research Institute showed that employees are happy and satisfied when they are engaged and allowed to grow, when they are enabled to achieve work-life balance, and when they are given a strong sense of purpose.

4. You Must Define What Values You Want in a Leader Before Becoming One

What all successful organizations have in common is a shared meaning of values that give them a clear, concise direction. This applies to successful leaders as well, since they are the ones who set the course for others to follow. As role-models, they define, embody, and live these values one day at the time.

In case you still don’t know what kind of a leader you’re expected to be, simply be the one you’d want to follow. From ambition, competency and individuality to optimism, dependability and flexibility, the great leadership values are manifold. Pick those that you strongly believe in, and live them every day.

5. Embrace Fear and Do Not Allow It to Hold You Back from Making the Best Decision to Move Forward with Your Vision

It might encourage you to know that most leaders succeed by employing the same “fake it ‘till you make it” mindset. For nearly everyone, new professional challenges trigger the imposter syndrome – the creeping fear that others will discover that you’re not as capable and smart as you think you are.

The best way to overcome it, experts say, is to simply embrace it. Instead of faking it all the time, ask your team for help and listen to what they have to say about their current needs and their plans for the future. They’ll give you some courage to move on and to make the best possible decision for all.

Finally, unleash your power by unleashing the power of your team. Great leadership is all about finding the perfect balance between guiding and listening, so whether you’re overconfident or afraid, never forget that you can rely on your people. Together, or not at all, you’ll find the best direction to grow.
Kolyanne Russ is a founder of Pinch of Attitude blog. It focuses on attitude-building, self-improvement, and lifestyle design to help people draw the right action plan and achieve a desirable balance between success and happiness.