Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.
— Tom Landry
Leaders are Born, Not Created?
Some say that extraordinary leadership is something that is injected into our psyche at the moment of our conception. Apparently these leadership qualities come packaged as part of our DNA. We are therefore either born with the gift for extraordinary leadership or we unfortunately draw the short end of the straw. There are however other people who believe that extraordinary leaders are not born but rather nurtured and inspired to achieve feats of greatness.
The discussion that follows pre-supposes that we are not born with the essential qualities of leadership ingrained into our psyche. As such we will break down the mindset of an extraordinary leader and the essential qualities that are required for inspiring leadership in business, sports and life. We will also identify a number of critical skills that a leader must cultivate on a daily basis while touching upon some essential practices of leadership that involve motivating others and leading people in challenging times. We will conclude our discussion by exploring some common leadership mistakes that we must avoid at all costs if we desire to lead others effectively.
The Mindset of an Extraordinary Leader
Within this section we will break down the fundamental traits of an extraordinary leader, including the essential principles they live by on a daily basis and the qualities they cultivate within their psyche that help support their decisions and actions.
The following is a list of essential traits that one must learn to cultivate within their personality in order to grow as an extraordinary leader in business, sports, school and life.
One must be…
An extraordinary leader is 100% committed to their team, company, goals, and vision.
An extraordinary leader takes action and makes decisions assertively and decisively.
Passionate to Fulfill Vision
An extraordinary leader pursues their goals, objectives and visions with a passionate intensity.
Courageous in Finding Solutions
An extraordinary leader has the courage to find solutions where others only see problems and disappointment.
An extraordinary leader maintains their poise and confidence no matter what events or circumstances are standing in their way.
An extraordinary leader is honest when dealing with others, and most importantly is honest and true to themselves, especially in times of difficulty.
Never Compromising Highest Standards
An extraordinary leader stays true to their highest values and standards no matter how much external pressure they receive from other people or from seemingly uncontrollable circumstances.
Not Living by Situational Ethics
An extraordinary leader does not live by Situational Ethics. Instead they stay true to their highest principles no matter what consequences may result from their decisions or actions.
Willing to Admit their Mistakes
An extraordinary leader shows their humanity by admitting to their weaknesses, faults and mistakes.
Have a Sense of Humor
An extraordinary leader projects their own unique sense-of-humor, and always seeks to point out the lighter side of an situation.
The following is a list of important principles that extraordinary leaders live by on a daily basis. They seek to project these principles into their daily decisions and actions.
One must be…
Strong Not Rude
An extraordinary leader is strong, assertive and decisive, while at the same time being respectful and courteous when dealing with others.
Kind Not Weak
An extraordinary leader shows a gentle kindness when the situation requires. However, it would take a fool to assume that this kindness is a sign of weakness. The kindness shown by an extraordinary leader is rather a sign of respect for those he/she deals with on a daily basis.
Bold Not a Bully
An extraordinary leader takes massive fearless action despite the risks — doing whatever is required to get the job done. However, this does not mean that they bully their way towards their goals and objectives. Instead they progressively navigate their way through people and obstacles to achieve their desired outcomes.
Thoughtful Not Lazy
An extraordinary leader takes time to think and ponder their leadership style and circumstances each and every day in order to improve the outcomes they desire to bring forth into their life. This should not be mistaken as laziness.
Proud Not Arrogant
An extraordinary leader is proud of their work, their people and their accomplishments. Yet you will not hear them bragging about their achievements to others.
Humble Not Timid
An extraordinary leader is humble about their accomplishments and abilities. They rather give credit to others than take it for themselves.
This should not be mistaken for timidness which stems from a lack of confidence in one’s abilities.
Witty Not Silly
An extraordinary leader is witty in nature. They are cunning and clever in their approach to people, events and circumstances.
The following is a list of important qualities that extraordinary leaders cultivate and grow on a daily basis. .
One must be…
An extraordinary leader is a visionary. They think big and picture what they want in their minds-eye with clarity and purpose. They then share these visions and plans with others in order to move and inspire them to take action with one common purpose and cause.
Firm Against Criticism
An extraordinary leader is firm against criticism, fully understanding that unconstructive criticism can destroy even the most resilient hearts.
An extraordinary leader projects inspiration using empowering language, gestures and actions. These symbols inspire his/her team to take massive action for a common purpose, vision and goal.
An extraordinary leader always thinks in terms of perfecting every action and process that will further help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their enterprise. As a result you will never find them compromising their highest standards or values.
An extraordinary leader takes full responsibility for their decisions and actions. You will never find them making excuses or complaining about their circumstances.
An extraordinary leader is focused on the strengths and needs of the situation, in respect to themselves and especially to the needs of others.
An extraordinary leader is focused on the most important tasks, roles and priorities at all times despite the circumstances.
An extraordinary leader has exceptional interpersonal qualities that shine through when dealing with other people.
They are always consistent and fair, open to new ideas and perspectives, and project magnanimity — always giving credit to others for their efforts, work and results.
Indispensable Leadership Skills
Within this section we will delve into the essential skills that an extraordinary leader must work on developing on a daily basis in order to improve their efficiency and effectiveness of their actions and decisions.
The following is a list of interpersonal skills that an extraordinary leader must master in order to improve their efficiency and effectiveness when dealing with other people.
Negotiation skills strengthen an extraordinary leader’s ability to reach agreements faster.
Delegation skills allow an extraordinary leader to leverage their time more effectively.
Persuasion and Influence Skills
Persuasion skills along with the ability to influence other people’s decisions and actions helps an extraordinary leader to inspire, motivate and instill behaviors within their team members.
Sales skills strengthen an extraordinary leader’s ability to sell themselves, their company, their team and their product or service to others in a more proficient way.
Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking skills allow an extraordinary leader to get their point and argument across to others in a confident, entertaining and persuasive manner.
Psychological and Rapport Creation Skills
An extraordinary leader must have a solid understanding of human behavior.
First, they must become aware of people’s physical and psychological tendencies, e.g. habits, values, beliefs, needs, meta-programs, self-concept, psychological rules, language patterns, attitudes, etc.
Secondly, they must adjust their approach accordingly to help improve their methods when dealing with other people.
Finally, the deeper their understanding of these psychological traits, the more profound of an influence they will have on other people’s behavior, decisions and actions.
The following is a list of personal skills that an extraordinary leader must master in order to stay ahead of the game and on top of the daily events, responsibilities and circumstances.
Goal Setting and Time Management Skills
Goal setting is closely intertwined with time management skills. An extraordinary leader requires both to set long-term visions, short-term objectives, priorities, and tasks for themselves and others.
Effective Thinking Skills
Critical Questioning Tactics: An extraordinary leader must cultivate an open-minded approach. This is where critical thinking comes into the picture and becomes an essential component of their decision-making process.
Creative Thinking Skills: An extraordinary leader must be able to think outside-the-box about problems and circumstances that may impede their progress towards the attainment of their goals and objectives.
Problem Solving Skills: An extraordinary leader must have the ability to think through the problems confronting their reality in a logical and structured way that naturally enhances their efficiency and effectiveness as they go about their day.
Self-Motivation and Self-Awareness Skills
An extraordinary leader must have an understanding of their own motivational tendencies, habits, values, rules, meta-programs, beliefs and behaviors at a profoundly deep level of awareness. Only with this understanding will they be better able to direct their own behavior in the most efficient and effective manner possible at all times.
Decision Making Skills
An extraordinary leader understands how to make effective decisions at the right moment and time. They fully understand the drawbacks, benefits, and consequences of each decision before it is made. They also time their decisions — perfectly aligning them to the needs of the situation and the people involved in bringing the decision into fruition.
Being adaptable means maintaining a flexibility of thought and a fluidity in action that will allow an extraordinary leader to change course and direction as events and circumstances are transforming around them.
Outstanding Leadership Actions
Within this section we will break down a number of actions that all leaders will find important and necessary as they move down the path towards extraordinary leadership.
An extraordinary leader must have an uncanny ability to motivate and inspire their people into action.
Here are a number of significant components that are necessary and required when it comes to motivating people from the highest levels.
Encourage Highest Standards
An extraordinary leader encourages the highest standards of work, behavior and action to help people reach their fullest potential.
Communicate Honestly and Clearly
An extraordinary leader understands the importance of honest and clear communication at all times. This clarity helps instill confidence, while honesty stimulates mutual respect between the leader and his/her people.
Inspire through Action
An extraordinary leader clearly understands that only through leading by example and inspiring others via their own personal actions, will they be able to get the most out of their people.
Become a Teacher
An extraordinary leader takes on the role as a teacher and mentor. They help grow the minds of the people that follow them by instilling their knowledge and wisdom in an open and welcoming environment.
Empathize, Dream and Strategize with Others
An extraordinary leader treats others humanly with deep respect and appreciation. Empathizing, dreaming and strategizing with others grows the personal bonds and strengthens the connection between a leader and their followers.
Leading in Challenging Times
An extraordinary leader is most extraordinary in times of crisis when everything seems to be falling apart and crashing down around them.
Here are a number of key personal strategies that extraordinary leaders use to keep themselves focused and in control of seemingly uncontrollable events and circumstances.
Create Small Victories
An extraordinary leader finds ways to create small victories that keep them and their followers motivated and moving forward at all times.
No matter what is going on around them, an extraordinary leader always sees the lighter-side of every situation. They fully understand that a sense-of-humor is a key component that will relax and re-focus them on what is most important at any moment in time.
Keep Motivation Levels High
An Extraordinary Leader finds ways to keep their motivation levels as high as possible at all times. The motivational strategies they utilize in these situations depend on their personality and circumstances.
Make Emotional Intelligent Decisions
An extraordinary leader understands that in times of crisis that their emotions can influence their rationale and decision-making process in unfortunate ways, which is why they keep their emotions in check at all times and only make decisions that are based on logical conclusions and solid evidence.
Be First to Sacrifice
In times of crisis an extraordinary leader is always the first to make personal sacrifices. This often inspires their followers to do the same.
Focus on the Bigger Picture
During challenging times, an extraordinary leader understands the importance of maintaining their focus on the bigger picture, and not absorbing their mind in putting out daily spot-fires that would normally distract others.
Common Leadership Mistakes
Within this final section we will take a look at some common leadership mistakes that we must avoid at all costs if we seek to climb the ladder towards the extraordinary.
The following is a list of just a few common interpersonal mistakes that leaders often make.
A weak leader has a tendency to flaunt their power while in the presence of others. This builds resentment and anger within the people who follow them.
Complaining to Subordinates
A weak leader constantly complains to others about their circumstances, unfulfilled objectives, unrealized goals and targets, and about mistakes that have been made.
A weak leader is quick to make conclusions and jump to assumptions about events, people and circumstances without first confirming all the evidence, statistics and facts.
Not Leading by Example
A weak leader does not live by the principles they preach. Their words will point their followers in one direction, while their personal actions will contradict the language they speak.
Inconsistency builds resentment, and resentment creates dissention within the ranks.
The following is a list of just a few common personal mistakes that leaders often make.
Not Giving Power Away
A weak leader is fearful of giving their power away to others. They will hold onto knowledge, skills, tools and resources in order to maintain full control in their hands. This fear eventually eats them alive and they destroy themselves from within.
Not Willing to Make Tough Decisions
A weak leader doesn’t like to take responsibility for their mistakes. For this reason they tend to shun away from making the tough decisions that could lead to discouraging outcomes.
The following is a list of just a few common company mistakes that leaders often make.
Not Riding Momentum
A weak leader takes periods of momentum for granted. They become complacent and sabotage the progress of their team by not taking full advantage of the momentum that has been created.
Not Appointing a 2nd in Command
A weak leader enjoys being in full and complete control of every event and circumstance. However, as momentum grows and things expand it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain order.
A weak leader does not realize that appointing a 2nd in command would help ease the pressure off their shoulders while potentially improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.
Ignoring Company Problems
A weak leader doesn’t like dealing with problems or conflict. They therefore ignore these situations and allow them to fester and strengthen over time. What they don’t realize is that problems cannot be avoided. Instead problems must be dealt with in a proficient and speedy manner, otherwise they may very well grow uncontrollably into a crisis that may lead to the downfall of the entire company or team.
Becoming an extraordinary leader takes work, dedication and a commitment to excellence. It is something that we strengthen and grow over a period of time as we learn more about ourselves and about our ability to deal with other people and circumstances in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
The path to extraordinary leadership is more of a journey rather than an end destination. We become extraordinary through our consistent actions and dedication to a cause and vision that inspires those around us in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any further queries or questions, or would like to share your experiences about this topic, than please do so in the comments section below.
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are a number of highly recommended free articles and online resources that will further help expand your understanding about this topic:
- 20 Indicators of Failing at Leadership @ Slow Leadership
- 2 Styles of Leadership & Their Consequences @ Slow Leadership
- Nelson Mandela’s 8 Lessons in Leadership @ Slow Leadership
- 8 Rules of Leadership from George Washington @ 7P Productions
- 25 Great Quotes on Leadership @ Positivity Blog
- 7 Leadership Tips Inspired by Barack Obama @ Yin vs Yang
- Leadership: Accepting Mistakes @ Learn This
- Leadership: Remember It’s About People @ Learn This
- 6 Lessons on Leadership from Captain Bligh @ Alec Satin
- Leadership: 5 Facts Leadership Gurus Don’t Tell @ Enhance Life
- Top 10 Leadership Lessons @ Sources of Insight
- The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow by John C. Maxwell
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell
- Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Richard E Boyatzis & Annie McKee
- Total Leadership; Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life by Steward D. Friedman
- Principle Centered Leadership by Stephen R. Covey
- Leadership 101: What Every Leader Need to Know by John C. Maxwell
- Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell
- The Power Principle: Influence With Honor by Blaine Lee