Leaders great and small process information, direct others, inspire at times and work for the betterment of the organization. The difference between the great leader and the not-so-great leader can pretty much be summed up by direction, but let’s get deeper than that and focus on several important points that separate the true leader from the rest of the pack.
To understand how great leaders think differently from everyone else a few key points of interest stand out.
Inspiration – “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~John Quincy Adams
I’ll add to JQA by saying you are a great leader, if you are inspiring in this way. Great leaders think about opportunities to inspire and lead in ways that grow, not only the organization, but the individual. Simon Sinek said it best in his Ted talk, “leaders know what their purpose is and what their cause is”.True leaders know why they got out of bed in the morning and it is not to push the bottom line. It is to impart a greater purpose to the individual, which in the end, will bring the organization to its desired purpose.
Understanding The Corporate Climate – “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails.” -John C. Maxwell
So true, the true leader can see, feel or smell what’s on the horizon. Like a Captain at sea that navigates the tough waters as well as the smooth waters, they will notice the direction of the corporate climate and work to shore up the weak spots. Roger Martin for Harvard Business Review discusses this while speaking about Bob Young in his article , How Successful Leaders Think. The article points to Mr. Young as a leader that was able to notice that several options could be available to his organization if he moved carefully to optimize his potential within those options. He did, and his navigation paid off well. he adjusted the sails and set a course to control the corporate climate and grow the organization.
Base Hits – “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~Robert Collier
Base hits, not home runs, win baseball games. A true leader understands this and is patient, doesn’t swing for the fences unless he gets a softball pitch, and instructs others in the way of small wins, or base hits. Leadership Now mentions this as, “developing a small wins strategy”. The idea is to break tasks down to manageable pieces that can be tackled today. Once you begin showing the organization how to accomplish this it will catch fire and spread, leading to an epidemic.
Leadership is not an easy task and definitely not learned over night, stay patient, build a winning team and celebrate your successes along the way.