Things Highly Effective Leaders Do Differently 1

Things Highly Effective Leaders Do Differently
When we hear the success stories of today’s most inspirational leaders, we come to realize that they all have certain things in common. Great leaders do things well - they make the best decisions, they teach and inspire others, make it easy for people to want to follow them, etc. But how do they do this? Read on to find out what great leaders do differently and what leadership lessons we can learn from them. 

I have always been fascinated to know more about leaders and explore how they have shaped their thoughts and approach over the years. It’s always intriguing to know how they deliver consistent results. There are so many authors who have written on the subject and every author has brought out something unique in their writeup.

My gratitude to Prof. Debashish Chatterjee who gave me his book ‘Light the fire in your heart’ many years back, that remains my most prized possession. His teachings have remained with me and his book continues to guide me on leadership.

A future-ready leadership culture is best exemplified not just through the engagement of internal talent, but equally by how leaders perceive, empower, integrate, reward, and support their distributed talent. Click To Tweet

During this period of lockdown, I have heard of many leaders who took charge of the situation and did things differently which set them and their organisations apart from others. There are few others who were impacted severely by the pandemic since they wanted to stick to old traditional practices. But with the global health crisis forcing businesses to go online, things have changed drastically and leadership mindset is playing a crucial role in setting things right.

Citing some excerpts from a book ‘The Future Ready Organisations’ written by Gyan Nagpal

‘In the modern, networked and symbiotic world that we live in, people management is less about squeezing performance from the organised few and more about curating contributions from the limitless many’.

‘Building a future-ready organisation involves getting leaders tuned into the art of the possible’.

‘A future-ready leadership culture is best exemplified not just through the engagement of internal talent, but equally by how leaders perceive, empower, integrate, reward, and support their distributed talent’.

Leaders can foster curiosity in employees by acknowledging limits of their own knowledge with simple ‘I don’t know – let’s find out or by highlighting the inherent ambiguity of a decision the company is facing’ (Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino).

My research on leaders says that they come out with an exceptional performance at the time of a crisis. During a crisis, leaders embrace change easily and acknowledge it as a unique opportunity to do things differently along with questioning and challenging traditional approaches and paradigms. Crises can get the collective adrenaline flowing and are useful for directing leaders to solve the problem at hand – leaders can at a given time see what is near and what is far.

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So, how do great leaders do things differently?

I have had the opportunity to work with some great leaders. Every leader left with me some amazing learnings and their definition of success.

I am using metaphors to describe a few of my leaders. One leader is a mountaineer who is scaling one mountain after the other, with every feat there is a new feat and with every success, there is a new goal. Another leader will uncover nothing more than science fiction from one solution to another and another. One is a king who cared for you like his own family and helped you in every possible way, his appreciation worked wonders. The other king is bold, empowering, and confident who said, “before reaching out to me you should have gone through him”. One was with you in your lows and was also the first one to stand at the start line with you and later celebrate your success.

During a crisis, leaders embrace change easily and acknowledge it as a unique opportunity to do things differently along with questioning and challenging traditional approaches and paradigms. Crises can get the collective adrenaline flowing and are useful for directing leaders to solve the problem at hand – leaders can at a given time see what is near and what is far.

Another believed that the only way to respond to doubt is by attempting and delivering to things.

To summarise learnings, I have tried to understand what successful leaders did differently. Successful leaders are authentic and authenticity is about being real. They believe in self-awareness, relational transparency, and balanced processing. They believe in genuineness. They believe in what they are, and they speak from their heart and gut. It is a virtue that they believe firmly and what they reveal to the outside world. Great leaders encourage their people to be authentic and bring more of themselves to work in small and big ways.

Things Highly Effective Leaders Do Differently 2

Leaders have a clear intention and through their intentions, they mobilise their mental energy toward something they really wish to accomplish. It is like a mountaineer who has an aim to reach the peak and his focus is on every step that he takes.

Every leader has his focus assigned to a purpose and he channelises his entire energy and focuses on that purpose. With purpose comes higher responsibilities and great leaders drive it well. Great leaders create their own identity

Leaders know that they cannot predict the future based on the past and it needs to be invented. Innovation will lead to change. Leaders not only lead themselves they also lead others to a purpose. They seldom lose sight of what is real, they are authentic in their approach and actions. They shape reality based on their insights. Great leaders not only focus on speed but also getting all things together. I know a long-distance marathoner who is not only working on his speed but also improving the ability to improve his time consistently.

Leaders create emotional connections and they use this to create engagement at work. When people are free to make choices at work, they feel more authentic and in control. Employees often welcome this sense of freedom as a true gift as it makes them look at their relationship with the organisation as emotional rather than just transactional.

Leaders act quickly as they are mindful of their actions. They are likely to make headway and progress as they act quickly and work at the right moment.

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They engage with the people by creating a culture of acknowledgment, appreciation, and recognition. A leader does this by treating people as humans who have capabilities not limited to just roles and responsibilities. They know how to connect with people, and they do it through their hearts and minds – by engaging with them deeply they bring out the best in them.

Things Highly Effective Leaders Do Differently 3Leaders create emotional connections and they use this to create engagement at work. When people are free to make choices at work, they feel more authentic and in control. Employees often welcome this sense of freedom as a true gift as it makes them look at their relationship with the organisation as emotional rather than just transactional.

They integrate goals to tasks, principles to practices, and say what they do. They are committed to a cause. They represent character, credibility, and commitment. The credibility is created by making decisions not based on likes and dislikes. Leaders drive sustained commitment from their teams. Leaders do not push people to change, they create a dialogue that makes a person think of the change within. They create a space for their people to grow and let them succeed.

Leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary capabilities. 

I had the opportunity to witness various leaders’ humility and humbleness. They never shied away from sharing their learnings. They never shied from accepting mistakes and gathered feedback from people to take collective action. They kept the team ahead, as for them, new learnings and exploring new opportunities was the mantra to succeed.

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Tapas Acharya is the Senior Vice PresidentHuman Resources at ReNew Power. Tapas is an industry veteran with more than 26 years of multifarious experience in Human Resource Management. He has held senior leadership roles in various companies like MTS, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd., Airtel, and Spice Communications. An alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur, he is also a leadership coach and mentor. He specialises in Strategic & Tactical Planning, Organisation Design, Channel Management, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Change Management, Employer Branding, Recruitment & Selection, Industrial Relations, and Team Management.

1 Comment

  1. Beautifully capturing the successful leadership qualities, I think the current unexpected situation also gave a true test of the leadership skills, how to be resilient and provide the psychological safety to the employees.. organisations with such leadership qualities.. were able to sail through

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