I’m fortunate that I get to work with extraordinary leaders. Most of them have been working on becoming the best for years. These leaders are of solid character and beyond the norm. Many of them are on the fast track to moving into positions of more responsibility in their organizations.
The way they got to extraordinary is extraordinary in itself. Their courage is admirable as they show a willingness to step out of the mold of ordinary leadership. They simply refuse to be a part of the pack of C-level leaders; they shoot for A+.
The results they achieve speak for themselves; motivated employees, the ability to attract the best, and bottom-line results. How do they do it? Here are some thoughts on you might become an extraordinary leader:
Put people first and trust that the business results will follow. Take the time to create solid relationships with others, while making an effort to know them personally. Finally, you will make great progress when you meet with your team and other stakeholders on a regular basis with an agenda of “How can I help you?” to assure that you are in good standing with the people who matter.
Work on Yourself
You are the instrument of your leadership, just like a violin is the instrument of violinists. It takes hard work and practice. Take care of your instrument by doing what it takes to stay mentally and physically healthy. When you become a better listener, team member, employee, and person all of your efforts will carry over into your leadership.
Never Rest on Your Accomplishments
Continue to seek out the next challenge. This is not about “climbing the corporate ladder”; but more about having the drive and desire to take on things that are organizationally beneficial and personally challenging. You will need to conquer your fear, critical inner voices, and sabotaging behaviors to get done what needs to be done.
Get to know your weaknesses as well as your strengths. It’s important for you to be vigilant of both, since weaknesses can be ignored and strengths can become weaknesses if they’re overused. Continually do your best to stay aware of how others perceive you, since their perceptions are their reality. Ask for feedback on “How am I doing?” frequently.
Extraordinary leaders are intentional about their relationships, the personal work they need to do, taking on challenges, and staying humble. When I think about that list, I know I’d like become such a leader. How about you?
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Mary Jo Asmus is an executive/leadership coach whose work spans decades of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of executives, leaders and teams in Fortune 500, mid- and small- sized business, governments and nonprofits. She focuses on facilitating individuals and teams from first-line supervisor to the C-suite to create, develop, and influence the relationships that can make them extraordinary.