7 core beliefs of great leaders

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Great leaders have the ability to change us for the better. They see more in us than we see in ourselves, and they help us learn to see it too. They dream big and show us all the great things we can accomplish.

Great leadership can be a difficult thing to understand. You know a great leader when you’re working for one, but even they can have a hard time explaining the specifics of what they do that makes their leadership so effective. Great leadership is dynamic; it melds a variety of unique skills into an integrated whole.

Great leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actionsnot just their words. Impressing on people about the behaviour you want to see has only a tiny fraction of the impact that you achieve by demonstrating the good behaviour traits yourself.

Great leaders believe in their people, and this belief drives them to create an environment where people thrive. Let’s explore some of the driving beliefs that set great leaders apart.

1. Growth should be encouraged

Average bosses and leaders fear their smartest, hardest-working employees, believing that these individuals will make them look ineffective or not up to the job. They hesitate to share information or to enable authority. Exceptional leaders, the most engaging leaders, on the other hand, love to see their employees grow. They are always grooming their replacements and doing whatever they can to create leaders. Exceptional leaders want their best employees to maximize their potential, and they know that good feedback and guidance are invaluable.

2. Employees are individuals, not clones.

Average leaders lump people together, trying to motivate, reward, and teach everyone in the same way. Great leaders treat their staff as individuals, respecting the fact that everyone has their own motivation and style of learning. Something different makes each employee tick, and the most engaging leaders will figure out what that is.

3. Employees are equals, not subordinates.

Ordinary leaders treat their employees like children; they believe that they need constant oversight. These bosses think that their role is to enforce rules, make sure things run their way, and watch over people’s shoulders for mistakes. Great leaders move away from this dependent state and move towards becoming an engaging leader – a leader who shares the theme of let’s grow and motivate each other.  They see employees as peers who are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves. Rather than constantly stepping in, engaging leaders make it clear that they value and trust their employees’ work and only intervene when it’s absolutely necessary

4. Work can and should be enjoyable

Ordinary leaders see work as something that everyone has to do, whether they want to or not. They believe that their role is to make sure that their employees don’t slack off or grow lazy. They say things like, “If it weren’t for me, nothing would ever get done around here.” However, great leaders love their jobs and believe that everyone else can too. They give people assignments that align with their strengths, passions, and talents. They celebrate accomplishments and douse people with positive feedback when they do good work.

5. Diversity, not like-mindedness, bears fruit.

Average leaders want their employees’ ideas to align with their own, and because of this, they try to hire like-minded individuals. They encourage their employees to think similarly and reward those who “just put their heads down and work.” Exceptional leaders actively seek out a range of employees and ideas. They expose themselves and their companies to new ways of thinking.

6. Motivation comes from inspiration, not agony.

Leaders who cannot think beyond dependent staff think that strict rules and rule enforcement drive employees to work effectively. They believe that people need to fear being sacked, explosions of anger, and punishment in order to operate at 100%. People then find themselves in survival mode, where they don’t care about the product, the company, or the customer experience; they only care about keeping their jobs and appeasing their boss. Exceptional bosses motivate through inspiration – they are the captain on the pitch rather than the manager shouting from the side lines.

7. Change is an opportunity, not a curse.

Ordinary bosses operate by the motto, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” They believe that change is unnecessary and that it causes more harm than good. Great leaders see change as an opportunity for improvement. They constantly adapt their approach and embrace change to stay ahead of the curve.

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