Seven Things Exceptional Leaders Do That Bolster Their Success

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Seven Things Exceptional Leaders Do That Bolster Their Success

Written by: Jean-Francois Cousin, Forbes Councils Member

Jean-Francois Cousin, Global Executive & Team Coach, Speaker and Author; Chairman of the ICF Global Board in 2019; Coaching for Greatness.


What is it that exceptional leaders do to consistently succeed beyond expectations? The answer took shape right in front of me for over 15 years, as I learned about exceptional leadership in action from those I have been privileged to coach, more than any course possibly could have taught me.

Attempting to summarize my learning from them made me realize that their exceptional leadership is underpinned by seven things they do, all captured in the acronym LEADERS, namely: love, enable, assemble, dare, embolden, reach and sustain.

Here are snapshots of why and how exceptional leaders engage with their people in that singular way.

Love Themselves And Others

Why would smart people follow their leaders in unknown, possibly risky terrain, when even those leaders are unsure about the smartest way ahead? Essentially, people will keep supporting their leaders if they have a form of “love” for and trust in them. For that to happen, leaders must have been caring deeply for their team members and demonstrating sufficient self-leadership to remain trustworthy in adverse environments.

To attain such qualities, leaders must take a journey of self-awareness and, most importantly, self-acceptance. This combination breeds self-care, growth, self-trust and, ultimately, self-leadership. Next, leaders outgrow their ego, daring to drop their mask, be humble and open up.

At that point, the benefits of their developmental journey expand further. Having enjoyed learning to know, accept, care for and trust themselves, leaders are better able and keen to know, accept, care for and trust others.

In doing so, they demonstrate a great form of love — one which triggers reciprocity and builds trust.

Enable Others To Play At Their Best

Great leaders are great learners and assume that everyone is gifted with talents. They offer their people that priceless “double-A gift” of their undivided attention and unlimited appreciation. They keenly learn from them and uncover, unlock and nurture their potential. They learn something useful from those who disagree with them. They challenge and support their people to bring their A-game while avoiding overprotecting them, for that would forfeit the solid growth occurring in the discomfort zone.

Exceptional leaders recognize that the ultimate test of their greatness as a leader is about how successful they are at enabling others to be great — a much taller order than winning the vain game of trying to be “the smartest person in the room.”

Assemble And Catalyze Collective Intelligence And Agility 

Exceptional leaders discard the mundane to focus on what matters most. They embed not just love but also purpose in their teams — “L&P,” the immensely valuable counterpart to the “P&L”!

Once their people are purpose-driven, leaders partner with them to actualize and coordinate the talents on board, and they embed in everyone’s minds that by playing together, everyone shines far more than they do when playing by themselves.

Successful leaders know that two of the most valuable assets of their organization are the collective intelligence and the agility of their teams. They become “CIA catalysts” and use five practices I invite you to discover in this previous article.

Dare, Knowing It’s Better To Try-Fail-Improve Than Regret Not Trying

Another distinguishing feature of exceptional leaders is that they have “no respect for the status quo,” as Steve Jobs remarked. They nourish that fortitude to continuously raise the bar for themselves and inspire others to do so. They avoid the delusional quest for perfection and smartly settle instead for delivering “just good enough,” fast.

As they change the game to secure better outcomes, they take calculated risks. Then they own mistakes and embrace them as sources of growth, for they know that taking responsibility strengthens you, while making excuses or blaming others belittles you.

Embolden Others To Surpass Themselves

Ever the optimists, exceptional leaders grow, while pessimists shrink. They find that light within themselves that can be a beacon for others, and they let it shine. And they convey an infectious, can-do energy to the people they work with.

Those leaders also know that leadership is like a dance: Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Hence, they empower their people, staying ready to right the wrongs if things go south. And, as they motivate others to walk the extra mile, they assure them that they have got their back, no matter what.

They celebrate milestones and successes, small or big, to nurture, throughout their organization, the belief that “we can win, one step at a time.”

Reach And Sustain Holistic Success

The road to meaningful success is always rocky. Great mess and distress precede greatness and success. Exceptional leaders press ahead, understanding that winners just fight longer.

To nourish their resilience, they allow themselves to disconnect regularly, to then better reconnect both with themselves and with others. They are disciplined in scheduling pauses to stop doing, stop thinking and just be quiet for a while. Afterward, their refreshed minds see more clearly what’s best to make happen next. And they relentlessly advocate self-care to the people they lead, so they can all not just do better but be better.

Which letter(s) in LEADERS can you magnify in your leadership style at this moment? What first step will you take today?

Should you feel inspired to make a bolder and highly creative jump forward in terms of leadership impact, I invite you to embrace reinventing your leadership with your inner artist.

Any path you choose, I wish you the great joy and profound fulfillment rewarding those who build a legacy that matters and inspires.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

via Forbes – Leadership “”

October 29, 2021 at 05:35AM

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Dr. Sharon Lamm-Hartman