10 Surprising Things Successful Leaders Do Differently

Adapted From, Great Game of Business blog by Kevin Kruse

Based on interviews with 200 highly successful CEOs, military officers, entrepreneurs, and leadership gurus revealed 10 themes for successful leadership. 

Whether you are a front-line supervisor, middle manager, or senior executive, these 10 secrets will help you be a better leader and person — both the boss everyone wants to work for and the high achiever every CEO wants to hire.

Here is a summary, but please contact us for a copy of Kevin Kruse’s entire blog.

  • #1 Great Leaders Close Their Open-Door Policy
    Open-door policies do more harm than good including stealing valuable strategic thinking time, and open-doors aren’t often used. Instead recurring, weekly one-on-one meetings are a far better way to proactively facilitate communication, and pre-scheduled “office hours”—perhaps an hour each day—is the best way to facilitate time-sensitive communication.
  • #2 Great Leaders Don’t Bring Smartphones Into Meetings
    If you use your smartphone in meetings, research suggests your colleagues probably think you’re being rude or unprofessional. Instead, avoid distraction, remain mindful, and be present.
  • #3 Great Leaders Have No Rules
    Every time we bump into a rule, it takes away a chance for us to make a choice or a decision. And it becomes “your” company, not stakeholders’ company.  Rules crowd out conversation. Managers become rule enforcers instead of leaders. Instead of rules, have standards or guardrails (we at Dimensions call these, ‘bumper guards’) that are rooted in company values.
  • #4 Great Leaders Are Likable, Not Liked
    Are you a people pleaser? It’s normal to want to be liked, but it’s a problem if you have a need to be liked. A need to be liked causes managers to withhold direct, constructive feedback. It can lead to delayed decision-making in the hopeless quest to get universal agreement. You don’t need to act like a jerk at work but realize that your team members don’t need another friend, they need a leader who will coach them and advance their career, who will make the sometimes tough decisions to protect the team or advance the company.
  • #5 Great Leaders Lead With Love
    Yes, great leaders love their team members – compassionate love – a warmth, connection, and caring felt for humankind- that kind of love!  Leaders who care about their team members and show it achieve high employee engagement and business outcomes. 
  • #6 Great Leaders Crowd Their Calendar
    Great leaders are obsessed with minutes. They know that every minute wasted or freely given away is another minute that can’t be spent coaching their team or on getting results. For best results, throw out your to-do list, and schedule everything. Pre-schedule time to lead; schedule your recurring weekly one-on-one’s, your quarterly town-halls, your twice a year career path meetings. Schedule: Downtime? – yes;  Contemplation?- yes, “nothing” time? – yes!
  • #7 Great Leaders Play Favorites
    In a misguided attempt to be impartial and fair, too many managers treat all their team members the same. But it turns out that’s the most unfair thing we can do to people. And it’s the fastest way for you to lose top talent. Instead of treating everyone alike, you need to learn to individualize your leadership approach. 
  • #8 Great Leaders Reveal Everything
    In traditional organizations information flows “up” and the decisions come “down,” but to compete in today’s business world, we have to replace “knowledge is power” to “sharing is power.” In business, radical transparency means sharing everything, including all the financials needed to understand what makes the business work.
  • #9 Great Leaders Show Weakness
    “Will you tell me about a time you failed?” It’s the first question asked of guests on the LEADx Leadership podcast. The best leaders today realize that authenticity and vulnerability in business are the fastest ways to earn trust. So, leaders must drop masks and be their unique selves.  
  • #10 Great Leaders Know: Leadership Is Not a Choice
    The greats all agree that leadership in a word is: influence. You influence all the time! You influence when you stand up to the bully, but also when you remain a bystander. You influence when you challenge the idea in the conference room, and also when you remain silent. Leadership isn’t a choice, because you are leading (i.e., influencing) all of the time. You can make the choice to lead in a positive direction or a negative direction. But be mindful of your power – your influence — and lead with intent.

These 10 themes that successful leaders do are what cultivate a great company AND employee well-being. We are happy to send you the entire blog.  It is well worth the read!

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