10 Ways to Outshine as a Leader


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Leadership is not a magical gift but a set of skills that one can acquire and practice. Not everyone will become a great leader, but everyone can become a better leader. It may come more easily to some, but it is certainly not out of reach for others. It does not matter if one is running a business, managing a team, or teaching a class; leadership skills are important.

True leaders are generous with credit. It takes a strong, confident person to say they are wrong. Praising people often and openly when the work is well done or a job is completed with excellence is another way. The best leaders give the benefit of the doubt by being fair and kind by giving a second chance or the benefit of the doubt. Leaders who micromanage their teams are not allowing the talent to excel, the gifted to produce, and the experienced to make the best use of their skills. If one wants to be a better leader, step back and give people the room they need to do their best.

Business may be severe, but the best leaders know how to build excitement and fun. If responsibility and accountability are essential, do not let those who are slacking get away with it. A good leader gains respect by sticking to principles, and when the team stays highly functional. When one trusts, it sends a message of believing and having confidence in people which in turn only inclines them to reciprocate! Love conquers all. By loving the people, the organization, and those being served; one is bound to discover the secret of leadership.

The most important skills of outshining as a leader may not be what one thinks. Although it is important to be visionary and a strategic thinker, a new study suggests that it is more rooted in the daily dealings with people. A leader who has mastered having successful conversations is most likely to do well steering their team or business. Below are ten ways which can help one to outshine as a leader:

01. Managing Emotions and Forming Personal Connect. Emotions give energy. If one is low, energy is low! If running high, one feels positive and optimistic. To be at best as a leader, one should manage their emotions – this enables one to manage their energy too. Even in a crowded room, outshining leaders make people feel as if they are having a one-on-one conversation as if they are the only person in the room that matters.

Likable leaders communicate on a very personal, emotional level. They never forget that there’s a flesh-and-blood human being standing in front of them. Likable leaders always maintain a positive outlook, and this shows how they describe things. Even in undeniably negative situations, likable leaders emanate an enthusiastic hope for the future, a confidence that they can help make tomorrow better than today.

When it comes to their accomplishments and failures, good leaders take things in their stride. They usually savor success without letting it go to their heads, and they readily acknowledge failure without getting miffed about it. They learn from both and move on.

02. Developing Skills and Thinking Differently. If one does not have the skills to lead, no title or position will ever make them into the leader they want to be. There’s only one way to become a better leader, and that’s to work on their leadership skills along with developing expertise in their field.

If leaders aspire to outshine; instead of sticking to safety should continuously learn, evaluate and always be open to change. They should accept change for progress and appreciate constructive criticism. As life-long learners; they must assess themselves, their organization and the practices in place to look for better ways of being, and doing things.

To outshine, a leader must lead by example; their actions, not words should set the trail for others to follow. Mahatma Gandhi motivated millions of Indians to be self-reliant by being so himself – he weaved his khadi cloth on his spinning wheel before encouraging the masses to follow suit. Great leaders make themselves the example.

Thinking radically different can set a leader apart from the rest. Great leaders do not just listen to and improvise the idea of the crowd but think of entirely new ways by which things can be done. Had Henry Ford listened to his customers, he would have ended with a mere faster-driven horse carriage. Instead, he thought differently to come up with the more efficient horse-less means of locomotion – the Ford cars!

03. Becoming Good Communicator, Approachable and Integrity. One need to discipline themselves to understand what is happening around them by observing and listening. A great leader is always a skilled communicator – not only as the speaker but as a listener! Likable leaders genuinely believe that everyone, regardless of rank or ability, is worth their time and attention. They make everyone feel valuable because they think that everyone is valuable.

Leaders should inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that integrity is important to them, but it is important for leaders to walk their talk by demonstrating it every day. Even a leader who oozes charm will not be likable if that charm is not backed by a solid foundation of integrity.

Outshining leaders have integrity and therefore, reliability and trustworthiness. They are trustworthy because they are honest. As integrity breeds transparency, the systems that operate under a great leader are open and therefore reliable. While good leaders might act honest, and look for the quickest way of getting things done, great leaders actually practice honesty, even if it makes a process longer and more challenging.

04. Learning to Spot talent and taking Ownership. Inclusive management starts even before employees walk in the door. Inclusive leaders do not hire the way managers traditionally do; rather, they create their own formulas, seeking out underlying qualities such as exceptional intelligence, creativity, and flexibility, and recognizing that the best candidates, the truly exceptional ones, might well be the unorthodox hires.

A huge element of great leadership is knowing how to connect with the right kind of people – those who can move a vision forward and develop successful strategies. To outshine, leaders should take full ownership during failure and let their team-members shine in times of success. A case in point is that of Professor Satish Dhawan, the Chairman of ISRO who took full responsibility at the national press conference for the SLV-3 satellite launch failure instead of blaming the humiliating fiasco on his team. Leaders who wish to outshine must know how to manage success, but more importantly, how to manage failure.

05. Being Part of the Team and Anticipation. There’s an acronym that says “team” stands for Together Everyone Achieves More, and great leadership comes from those who see themselves as part of a team, who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to support, help, guide and mentor.

Leaders should know how to read people as unspoken communication is often more important than the words people say. To outshine; leaders need to note facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice in order to know what is really going on with their people. In other words, they should have high social awareness.

Leaders who excel understand why they are there. They work first for the cause, and then for the organization. Good leaders focus on the present, great leaders anticipate. Leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are known for their extraordinary skill in anticipating the trends for their organization or different fields of investment would look like in the future. To outshine as a great leader, they must be vigilant constantly about the future possibilities, opportunities and risks for themselves, their teammates and their organization so that the best possible decisions are arrived steering into the right path.

06. Mentoring not Preaching. Most employees are interested in their growth and development wanting to know how they can do better and find their own path. As a leader the job is to mentor them, guide them and support them – not to boss them or preach to them. Rather than being a source of prestige, they should see their leadership position as bringing them additional accountability for serving those who follow them.

Great leaders know that to be an outshining leader means to serve and not to boss over those who work with them. By changing attitude to that of rendering service instead of exercising power, great leaders overcome pompousness and obtain humility. This in turn, inspires and evokes admiration and support from their followers, improving the performance of the entire team.
07. Giving Freedom and being Flexible. As long as people know how to get the job done right, stay out of their way. A leader who fosters freedom and flexibility gives people room to work in whatever way is best for them.

Good leaders often speak more than their subordinates do. And while a good leader hears what their team members have to say; but they might not be truly listening, i.e., engaging with and processing others’ unique ideas and suggestions.

What separates a great leader from a good leader is that; they really listen, carefully understand and critically evaluate the individual viewpoints of their team-mates. Depending on the validity of opinions, the leader might choose to adopt, ignore or offer suggestions to improve the idea, but regardless of the end result, are genuinely interested in processing to what the team has to say and appreciate the value of diverse viewpoints.

08. Connecting and being Generous with Employees. Come in early to work to do things when it is peaceful. When everyone else arrive, step out of the office and connect with them. It’s an efficient way to balance the demands of a leadership role, and people feel good about their team when they can see a leader not only working hard but also being available and accessible.
Excelling leaders are unfailingly generous with whom they know, what they know, and the resources they have access to. They want people to do well more than anything else because they understand that this is their job as a leader and they do not worry that someone else’s success might make them look bad.

09. Showing Compassion, Caring with taking Responsibilities. Compassion helps to bridge the gaps between what the organization needs, what people want, and what one can give. And, it is the leaders who show compassion that is the most admired. As per a study, leaders who demonstrate forgiveness and compassion led their teams to the most business growth.

While good leaders seek more power, great leaders seek more responsibility. Great leaders love leading not because of the immense power it gives them but because of the important responsibilities it confers on them. Good leaders focus on clinching maximum power and holding onto it while great leaders seek more accountability and therefore focus on addressing their responsibilities with their best efforts. This helps them deliver the most optimal results for their company and also helps them to utilize more and more of their potential.
Great leaders genuinely care about the organization and the cause they are working for. They do not waste their energy in merely plotting to gain more power. This helps in uplifting their organizations to a new, stellar level of success.

10. Recognizing Strengths of People. Management teams and organizations that prioritize inclusion attract better talent and perform better. A number of studies have demonstrated how more-diverse teams make better decisions than less-diverse teams.

By learning to quickly gauge the gifts and strengths of people, one is best equipped to help them build on it and grow in the most productive direction. Charisma is not so much about getting people to like oneself as getting people to like themselves when around. Good leaders apart from seeing the best in their people should also make sure that they see it too. They should draw out people’s talents so that everyone is bettering themselves and the work at hand.

Outshining as a leader is not a birthright; it results from acquirable skills that are crucial to one’s professional success. By implementing the above-discussed ways, one can surely watch themselves outshining as a leader.

Some entrepreneurs may be content to plod along making some revenue to tide through. However, it certainly does not cut it with those who are looking to make it big. If an entrepreneur is trying to outshine as a leader in the market, one of the ways to get ahead is to win mindshare. One can either do it in a big, impactful kind of way or do it slowly through a series of subtle maneuvers. Some entrepreneurs may apply strategies that help the business go on as usual. Creating that break from routine and examining the business from an outsider’s point of view is one way to start on change. By making a few changes a shown below, an entrepreneur will probably start seeing results:

• Doing small favors: Some entrepreneurs think doing small favors does not yield much ROI. However, it goes a long way. Doing small favors for clients help them perceive one as a trusted partner who is ready to help when they are in need. Even if the products are more or less similar to their competitors, the personal touch surely helps to get ahead and more likely to be referred to a larger network of potential clients.

• Creating a new category: Doing some research to find out what is missing and then tweaking their products and services into something unique can help. Some of the ways one can do this include delivery, pricing, services, and distribution.

• Publishing a credible report: The media, clients, and consumers love reading about new findings and surveys. Producing a report that is of value to stakeholders puts one ahead of their competition and positions one as a thought leader in their industry. It also shows to clients about being different from the pack. A useful report can definitely bring clients and consumers flocking to one’s door.

Heeding to some of the tips discussed, one will be able to outshine their competitors and allow their potential clients to make a clear choice between them and the rest in the industry. Once that happens, one is definitely on their way to building up a brand name which will dominate the market. Keep at it and soon one will outshine as a leader to be recognized around.

Neel Sinha
Neel Sinha is the creator of MyLnk. The innovative link shortener and URL management solution. The platform helps to shorten a link right away with great analytics. He is also the Founder & Principal Consultant at NFaktor and creator of the popular Comic Strip "Norman Liker." He has invented MyLoc, a new way to own your digital location pin. An IIM alumni, and an engineer with around 25 years of a successful professional career. He has excellent exposure to diverse markets, products, and solutions. Neel has traveled across the globe in sales and leadership roles.


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