“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets people to do the greatest things.”- Ronald Reagan
Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Reed Hastings. These are revered names of some of the world’s “best” business leaders; achievers who have transformed the lives of millions.
What makes great men like them carve out their path, and millions choose to follow them with great faith in their leadership skills? Leadership is not about getting great results; it’s about influencing others in a way that they draw inspiration from your actions and words.
As a Chief Executive Officer of ProofHub for more than 12 years, I have realized that as a leader of the pack, you should be able to make every team member the best version of themselves.
In this article. I will not list down what successful people do. Instead, I would like to share a list of things they don’t do. The idea is to make readers understand certain negative things to shut doors on.
Let’s move on with it.
What Great Leaders NEVER Do
Time and tide wait for no one. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Anyone who has read about the infamous procrastination displayed by General McClellan during the American Civil war must be knowing very well what I’m talking about here. Lack of preparedness resulted in thousands of lives lost in the war, and Abraham Lincoln ultimately had to sack the General.
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” — William Shakespeare.
Great leaders make timely decisions and do not postpone things for another day. They realize the importance of time and utilize it in the most efficient way possible. They know when it’s the right time to make decisions and take appropriate action. Whether identifying potential troubles or a great opportunity, they get things done before it gets too late.
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I have observed that inspiring figures of the current and past were known to empower their teams by creating an environment of trust and forthrightness around them. They let their team members know their roles and responsibilities, guide them, and help them when required, but they never interfere with their tasks and activities and let them do their own thing.
“Authority — when abused through micromanagement, intimidation, or verbal or nonverbal threats — makes people shut down & productivity ceases.” ― John Stoker
While recruiting potential candidates at ProofHub, many of them have told me that one of the main reasons they’re moving on from their current organization is that their managers or bosses have this knack of checking on them way too often.
This is a great blunder that great leaders never make. They trust their force and command respect.
3. Taking Setbacks Negatively
Success doesn’t come easy; it takes time, effort, and many failures before you get to taste sweet success. There will be setbacks and roadblocks, but great leaders do not let these stumbling blocks negatively impact their (or team’s) morale. Instead, they use setbacks to work harder and show greater zeal towards overcoming them.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”- Henry Ford.
Uninspiring leaders get easily demoralized from failures, and this may create a negative impression on his team, who’d be expecting him to stand firm in times of crisis. But inspiring leaders use setbacks and failures to improve their performance to ensure they don’t repeat the mistakes.
In simple words, you can feel afraid of failure and let it control you, or stare challenge in its face and show determination to deal with it with an iron fist. Great men fall on the ground; they feel the pain, bleed, but quickly get their act together and shrug off the dust and keep moving forward.
Many leaders fail to inspire confidence in their colleagues. One of the main culprits is the former’s inability to communicate effectively, using the right communication channels and positive body language, tone, and words. They fail to communicate the company’s vision, strategies, and policies to their employees.
“Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.”
Great leaders emphasize both verbal and nonverbal communication to make their point (clearly and firmly). They promote an open communication policy where every team member is encouraged to develop their ideas, suggestions, queries, and share feedback.
They keep themselves accessible to team members and choose different modes of communication (verbal, instant chat, email, social media channels ), depending on the nature of the information to be communicated.
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5. Failing To Set Clear Goals
What happens if you don’t give your team both project and organizational goals to achieve? You guessed it right, your team is just like a ship without a sailor and destination to go to! The result? Utter chaos, clutter, and misunderstanding. Great leaders don’t let these make their way into their teams.
“You’ll never be able to hit a target that you cannot see.” — Robin Sharma
One of the first things that great leaders do with their teams before working on a project is to set clear expectations and goals to achieve. They plan and create tasks (and subtasks), assign them to ensure a clear division of responsibilities. Deadlines are fixed and accountability is set, so every team member knows what is expected of him.
Make your team know where it’s heading, or else it will veer off the track sooner or later.
6. Ignore Mental And Physical Health
Pressure, pressure, and more pressure! It seems that today’s managers and bosses know nothing beyond these words. They want results and consider “over pressurizing” team members as an important tact to get more out of them, which I strongly disagree with. You simply don’t overburden your team with heaps of tasks, only to see them burning out at the end of the day.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey
This is where great leaders think (and act differently). They don’t set unrealistic goals and deadlines to meet for their team. They want their employees to be in the best physical and mental health. Great leaders schedule tasks and events so that every member is aware of when to do what.
They regularly organize fun activities where every team member can enjoy and get a much-needed break from work.
7. Failing To Appear In Control
There comes a time when we think that situation on hand has got out of control, and there’s very little we can do about it. Great leaders often encounter such scenarios, but they don’t appear rattled, and that’s how they send a strong message to their teams.
“Remaining calm in the midst of chaos is a superpower.”
― Clyde Lee Dennis
Mediocre leaders appear to have no control over the situation at hand, which negatively affects everyone. It is not that great leaders do not feel nervous, but they successfully hide it from others to see. They keep their emotions in check and remain calm.
Rather than fretting about the crisis and saying, “ I don’t know what to do — any ideas?” they will come up with, “ Let’s sort out this thing together”.
To Sum It Up
After going through the things mentioned above, I am sure aspiring leaders will take a cue out of the book of successful achievers and earnestly implement their approach. I know you won’t achieve results in a day, but Rome was not built in a day either.
The key to success is to consistently practice these virtues till you become incredibly good at what you do. When you reach the highest level, you simply can’t afford to make silly mistakes. Strong leaders accept responsibility and lead from the front while enjoying the wholehearted support of their teams.
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