What Does an Exceptional Leader Look Like?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” In a Google search I found a Leader defined as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.” Abraham Lincoln predicted that our Nation had to abolish slavery in order for our Nation to truly be the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” and he led our Nation to that vision. This was a very bold and challenging undertaking in our Nation’s history. Through his Leadership skills, he helped create and shape the America we know today. I believe we all have some leadership skills and abilities, but there are also those who possess EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP skills. Although I could spend an entire day discussing what makes an Exceptional Leader, I would like to highlight ten qualities that I believe are very essential:

L. Leads by example and character. If you want others to follow, you must be willing to do what you are asking them to do, with honesty and integrity that is consistent and transparent. 

E. Encourages trust and respect as a foundational principle in people working together.

A. Addresses the problem — then helps provide the means to a permanent solution.

D. Develops open and effective lines of communication. A confused mind says NO.

E. Empowers others to take leadership roles and in so doing develops leadership teams.

R. Reinforces the Mission and Vision of the organization and makes sure they are not strayed from.

S. Stimulates working together for a common cause. TEAMWORK!

H. Highlights team strengths — not weaknesses. Great leaders leverage their strength to help minimize their limitations.

I. Improves productivity through problem solving and planning. Getting the job done despite the obstacles. Surround yourself with others with different perspectives.

P. Programmed for Excellence. Good is not Good enough. Go the extra mile. There is no second best.

An Exceptional Leader never stops reading, never stops asking questions and never stops learning. Show me a person that has never made a mistake, you have just shown me a person that has never done anything.

Although some people believe that exceptional leaders are just born, I believe that the skills are learned and that situations catapult people into opportunities to develop those skills. Take the risk and accept the leadership opportunity every chance you can. Ask questions if you’re not sure, surround yourself with people equal to or greater than yourself, and never be afraid of failure. Edison failed over 200 times when trying to invent the light bulb. His best friend, feeling sorry for him, asked “how are you able to deal with all that failure?” Edison replied to his friend “I have not failed once, every time it doesn’t work, I have eliminated a process that has brought me one step closer to my discovery.” Edison was not afraid because He saw “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Edison was creating his future.

Gary Seibert can be reached at: gary@core8training.com. For additional information, please visit www.sbrassociation.org.