What Great Leaders Consistently Do

Great leader Jim Collins, author of Good To Great, said, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” Great leaders are productive, effective, competent, and successful in their leadership role. You can become a great leader by consistent doing these 8 things:

1. Inspire- Great leaders inspire those around them. They lead by example, demonstrating the attitude and actions that lead to a winning environment. The example they set inspires their team to strive for excellence.

2. Grow- Great leaders know the value of Lifelong Growth. Personal growth is a daily habit for them. They understand what John Maxwell says, “Growth today is an investment for tomorrow.” Leaders grow and develop themselves into great leaders.

3. Equip- Great leaders continually train and equip their people. They provide hands on coaching and relevant trainings. Knowing to win in business requires a competent team which is growing continually.

4. Listen- Great leaders effectively communicate. Communication is about speaking, body language, and listening. They know when to talk and when to listen, making sure to spend most of the time listening.

5. Manage- Great leaders are superb managers, having a combination of both leadership and management skills. They are aware of the performance of each individual and the entire team as a whole. They manage in a way that allows for maximum productivity and efficiency. Making sure the work they do leads to goals being accomplished and making progress toward the organizational vision.

6. Think and reflect- Great leaders take time to slow down to think and reflect. Thinking allows them to come up with creative ideas and the best decisions. Reflecting allows them to learn from past situations (successes and failures) and experiences.

7. Connect- Great leaders take time to connect with the customers/clients and those in every level of the organization, especially with their followers. They don’t just hide out in their office or away from people. They go to the front lines to connect and build relationships with others.

8. Execute- Great leaders take action and execute. They plan, set goals, and then get to work. They are action driven and oriented. Jeff Bridges says, “Execution is everything.”Jeff Bridges

Question: What some other things great leaders consistently do?

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42 thoughts on “What Great Leaders Consistently Do

  1. Good list. I’m falling short at the “front lines” part. I think one of the big ones, and I probably sound like a broken record, is perseverance. Hanging in when others would have already given up is a huge one I think.

  2. Great list, Dan. I think great leaders also enjoy people. I’m thinking of Ronald Reagan. One of his greatest qualities is that he truly seemed to like people and enjoy them – even the ones he didn’t agree with politically.

  3. I really liked this point, “Personal growth is a daily habit for them.” especially combined with leaders taking the time to learn and grow.
    I think sometimes we get hurried, so while we are moving forward, we aren’t learning as much as we could. We must move forward, but we must also take enough time to learn. Not just be busy for the sake of being busy. Does that make sense?

    • Yes, complete sense. Being busy can often lead to not growing or learning. But it’s something we have to intentionally do on a regular basis. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  4. Great topic Dan. I loved the book Good to Great. This the second blog today where I have commented about leaders and circumstances. Leaders are able to see beyond the limitations of their circumstances. They focus more on what they have instead of complaining about what the don’t have.

  5. One thing I’ve been really hit with recently the first one you mentioned, the importance of inspiring people. Over the past week the government changed hands in Ukraine and it was largely due to a few amazing leaders who were not politicians or even business leaders but just regular men and women who wanted a free and fair country. In fact if you have 2 minutes, watch this speech http://youtu.be/eU5Bx3IrgRk , it’s one of the most inspiring I’ve ever seen, it’s in Ukrainian but you’ll catch the passion even if you don’t understand what he’s saying. It was after this short speech that the president of Ukraine decided to flee, and the guy that is giving this speech is just a very ordinary Ukrainian.

  6. One of the things that struck me most when I was reading Good to Great was the emphasis on humility. You need humility to listen to people, you need humility to learn and grow, and you need humility to teach your people to become leaders themselves. Another great post, Dan!

    • Hello Julien,

      Humility is so important. It seems like it would make us weak but in fact it makes us great. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I hope you enjoy my site (I don’t usually take a long time to reply to comments:)

  7. Those are all great qualities. When I was taking classes in education, most (if not all) of these were mentioned as important to leading students to better work.

    One thing I could add is “being able to communicate a vision”. Often as leaders, we should be able to have a vision or goal of where we want things to be in the near future. That can require getting others on board with that vision. So being able to communicate it to others and getting them excited for it too would help.

  8. Great list Dan. I would say that great leaders have the ability to discern the strengths and weaknesses in each individual team member. In turn, leaders are able to place these members into positions that enhance both the individual’s and the team’s opportunities for success.

  9. Hey Dan – great leaders inspire and create new leaders. Some leaders make it about them – but leaders who are really effective are helping to develop new leaders.

    They also give selflessly or serve as Jon mentions below. Otherwise, you’ve pretty much covered the main points of leadership! (although it does take practice to master these skills!)

    • Hello Vishnu,

      Creating new leaders is a sure sign of a great leader! It’s one of the most important ones as well.
      Servant leadership is essential in influencing others. Thank you for taking the time to read and add to the discussion.