The 3 Things All Great Leaders Demand…#2 Might Surprise You

Great leaders demand three things from their teams.

1. Accountability

2. Pushback

3. That they work in your strengths

Leaders who fail to demand all three of those will never rise past mediocrity. Let’s explore each one in-depth so that you, too, can become a great leader.

Great leaders demand these things Great leaders demand accountability, pushback, & that their teams work in their strengths. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

I remember clearly when I realized I was in over my head. I was 27 years old, leading a team of nearly 15 people and I was failing miserably.

How Leaders Use Rules to be Good…and then Break Them to be Great

“If we do what comes naturally, we will not be great leaders.”

That’s a quote from an upcoming podcast guest, Hans Finzel (check out Episode 24 in about two months). No one is a naturally great leader. By default, we all have characteristics that prohibit us from being great leaders.

Shyness, self-centeredness, inability to handle conflict, reluctance to speak up, not listening to others’ ideas. The list could go on and on. No one is just born with all of the traits necessary to lead others. So how then do great leaders evolve? I think I learned that lesson a long time ago, but just realized it.

Learning to cook No great chef becomes great by following the rule book. The same is true for leaders. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

When I was five years old, I began to learn how to cook. Not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mind you. I’m talking about chicken and dumplings, lamb chops, pork tenderloins with cherry horseradish glaze, you name it.

I was blessed to learn two very different styles of cooking. My mom’s mother cooked traditional southern cuisine (mmmm…cornbread) while my dad’s mother taught me the art of gourmet cooking.

By the rules

When I first started learning to cook, I had to follow the rules. That meant that I had to mix the cherry horseradish sauce exactly according to the book (the book being whatever my grandmothers told me). I still remember it today:

1 cup of cherries, crushed

1/4 cup of apple cider

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of horseradish

Cornstarch to thicken

The only area where I got to “experiment” or play it by ear was with the cornstarch. It always seemed to require a different amount based on the juiciness of the cherries.

What Every Great Leader Eventually Learns

I don’t consider myself a great leader. Yet.

But I’ve learned the one thing every great leader eventually learns. In fact, I am finally putting it into practice.

Great leaders delegate It takes a team to change the world. It takes a leader who will give up control and delegate. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

I finally reached the point earlier this year when my first thought on a new to-do item is “who can I assign this to?” That is the one thing that all great leaders learn to do.

Doing it all myself

I’m 35 years old as of this writing. I’ve been business owner or leader of some sort for ten years almost to the day. For the majority of that time, I did everything myself. I didn’t delegate except as a last resort.

I hired my first assistant in 2007 but it never occurred to me to delegate anything of importance to her. The same was true for my next assistant. Thankfully, he was ambitious and looked for opportunities to shine without waiting for me to delegate to him. Naturally, he was promoted.

Why Some Teams Stay Motivated While Others Crash and Burn

Why do some teams seem to perpetually stay motivated while others fall flat?

You probably know the answer if you search deep down. You’ve likely worked for leaders who are great at keeping their teams motivated and for others whose teams have no energy at all.

So what is the secret to their success? That’s what one coaching client recently wanted to know.

Celebrate Small Milestones You need to celebrate. Celebration is invigorating. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

“Matt, my team is on the edge of burnout,” a coaching client said to me recently. “We continue to grow, but the pace has slowed down. Two years ago, everyone was so full of energy. Now it just seems like everyone is going through the motions.”

This One Weird Discovery Made Me a Better Leader

Leaders can learn a lot from a fish.

It’s true…I’ll show you.

Two years ago we moved into a new home here in Fort Wayne, IN. It has a small pond (pictured below), approximately forty-five feet deep by twenty-five feet wide. The pond is filled with beautiful little koi, a fish that prior to last fall I knew nothing about. As I learned about this fascinating fish, I immediately saw a connection between them and the people we lead.

Leadership Lesson from Koi Pond Don’t be a “limiting leader.” Your team will only grow as far as your boundaries allow them. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

Leadership is all about getting others to do great work. To do that leaders must create the right work environment and then provide their team members with the right opportunities to grow.

Key takeaway: A leader’s job is to help each team member realize his or her full potential.

The 2 Secrets of Great Leaders | The Pygmalion Effect

Do you want to know the two underlying secrets of great leaders?

I learned them from a 2000-year-old Roman poet named Ovid. You may be familiar with his character, Pygmalion, from the play Metamorphoses.

Believing in others - Pygmalion Effect
Only when you believe in others can you change the world. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

The First Secret of Great Leaders

In his play, Pygmalion was a sculptor who was able to simply look at a piece of marble and see the sculpture inside of it. He could see the beauty inside of a piece of stone.

That’s the first secret of great leaders. Like Pygmalion, they can see the hidden potential inside of others that no one else can. They see the best in others, like Nelson Mandela.

True Love and True Leadership Sometimes Means Being a Fake

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

That, if you didn’t already know, is from the 4th verse of the 13th Chapter of First Corinthians, better known around the world as the Love Chapter.

All of those traits make for good spouses, good parents, and good leaders. But there is more to love, more to life, and more to leading others than those things.

Sometimes, you have to fake it.

Man Shopping with his Wife - True Love True leadership, like true love, often means doing things you don’t want to do. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

Sometimes, you have to fake patience.

With some people, you have to fake kindness.

Some days, when envy is coursing through your veins, you have to pretend that you are happy for someone.

What Great Leaders do in a Crisis | Leading in a Crisis

Listen to this post

Great leaders thrive in a crisis.

It’s when times are toughest and everyone around is shirking responsibility and running away, that great leaders shine.

The greats don’t love crises. No normal person does. But a crisis seems to bring out the best in the greats, while at the same time bringing out the worst in others.

Crisis Leadership

So what separates the great leaders from the average ones?

1. Preparation

The first thing great leaders do better than everyone else is prepare for crises.

Crises are not dealt with properly the moment they occur. They are prepared for during all of the time you spend with your team up to that point.

Do you want to be Right or Effective? | Right vs. Working

Do you have a need to be right?

I’ll admit, by default, I do. I have to be right. If anything, this post is me saying, “Hi my name is Matt and I have an obsession with being right.”

Do you want to be right or effective?

I knew there was a reason I kept all of my journals for all these years and now I know why. I recently found a note that rocked my world. It said:

Would you rather be right or would you rather be effective?

That’s all.

Great Leaders Give Special Treatment

Do you have a special “thing” with your team members? Is there something that you do only with them, either individually or together?

If not, then you should.

Leaders give special treatment

As a team

There should be something special that you do as a team that no other team in your organization does.

Here are some real-life examples that I have either initiated as a leader or been a part of:

First Monday Donuts.

On the first Monday of every month, one of us was responsible for bringing in donuts. In retrospect, this explains why our performance on the first Monday of every month was abysmal, but it was worth it.