GET OUT THERE AND MAKE CONNECTIONS The best leaders are insatiable at learning and improving every area of their lives. Part of this involves just getting out there and networking. Talk to peers and competitors, to find out what’s important to them nowadays. Go to conferences and symposiums and talk to experts. Want to ask someone a question? If you are close enough to have their phone number, just phone and ask! Some of the best leaders are also introverts. It’s tough cold-calling or putting yourself out there, if you’re one too—but the successful introvert leaders all say the same thing: You just have to do it. (And that it does get easier!)
BE A SOLUTION-ORIENTED Weak leaders shame-and-blame. Strong leaders hone in on specific problems and look for solutions. And they’re especially good at thinking up ‘third alternatives’ or out-of-the box fixes that far exceed the standard solutions.
BE ACTION-ORIENTED Strong leaders not only look for solutions, they are also the first to take action on them and implement them. Leaders will find out the best people for specific tasks while others are still discussing possibilities. Leaders will fix plumbing leaks, find caterers at the last minute while others are bewailing a cooking disaster, and generally build up a “get-‘er-done” mentality. And that includes getting-it-done for your people!
ASK FOR HELP Part of being solution-oriented and action-oriented is knowing when to admit you need help, when to ask for help – and then doing so! A good leader never hesitates to say, “Can you show me how to do this?” or, “Will you explain this to me, please?” That’s because a great leader knows his or her own worth but is immune to ego. Remember that one is too small to create greatness.
ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY Leaders and excuses don't go together. A strong leader never hesitates to admit when he or she is wrong about something.
BE A LIFE LONG LEARNER Great leaders are voracious learners. They read books, as well as search the net. They are not afraid to go to the source and ask the experts. They listen to podcasts in their cars; go to seminars and workshops; find out how things work; and know exactly who to call on for a myriad of needs or situations. This type of curiosity is a great habit to develop—and it will keep you ahead of your competition and help you come up with concrete or decisive answers when others are still dithering.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK Effective leaders will take the time to do the research. And if they commission other people to do the research for them, they take the time to go over the results and make sure they understand all implications.