10 Tiny Habits Of The Most Respected Leaders

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Female leader in company

You don’t need to be the CEO of a glitzy corporation to be a leader. We lead as small biz owners. We lead when we write and share online. We lead as siblings. We lead as coaches. We lead in our schools. We lead our families. We all have the capacity in us to move those who matter to us.

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Here are 10 tiny habits of the most respected leaders:

1. They're relatable.

Great leaders know that they need to be relatable to inspire people to action. If a leader is seen as too ‘perfect,’ they will not inspire trust but rather detachment. Great leaders are willing to expose some flaws to encourage others to be ok with theirs.

2. They don't act aloof, superior, or submissive.

Great leaders communicate with those around them as equals, whether it’s the bathroom attendant or their top manager. This doesn’t mean the hierarchical order is ignored, whether in a company or a family. Hierarchies are there for a good reason, but they are challenging to maintain when members feel looked down on. They will resist this, leaving the ‘leader’ confused at his lack of impact. A great leader ultimately seeks to make others look and feel good.

3. They tell the truth — even if it's hard.

If a leader resorts to telling lies to maintain ‘order’ in his leadership, he is doomed. Lies have a short shelf life. They will either eventually be unearthed or pollute the environment because people sense something is ‘off.’ When information is sensitive, it can be withheld, but great leaders always tell the truth.



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4. They're not politically correct.

You need to tread with care here. I’m talking about leaders who have no interest in sugar-coating or straight delusion as a means to impress their followers. They are willing to lose societal brownie points to serve their people best. They are ok with upsetting a few to serve the majority. I don’t care how ‘kind’ an image you’re presenting. We can all smell your BS, and when we do — we do not respect you — even if we pretend to.

5. They show, rather than tell.

The best leaders are intentional about encouraging others to be courageous. But they will have trouble if they do not demonstrate it in their actions. When an opportunity presents itself, they let go of their need for self-protection, step up to the plate, and astound with their bravery.

6. They understand frame control.

The best leaders understand ‘frame control.’ This is the secret to outstanding leadership. What is ‘frame?’ It is to exert your ‘reality’ as a leader while maintaining harmony. When an employee is abusive, the worst ‘leaders’ will react with anger, thus losing frame and respect. The best leaders hold frame by remaining calm, even if they want to shout, thus enforcing a paradigm of psychological status and maturity that others will ultimately follow.



7. They don't rely on ‘expectations.’

A very common mistake I see leaders make is basing the effectiveness of their operations on assumptions. They expect people to behave a certain way and are upset when those expectations are not met. Maybe Joe expects his sales team to continue hitting higher numbers, but many don’t. Instead of using the ‘hope strategy,’ great leaders continually make firm contracts with people on what matters. People respond far better to clear, spoken, win-win agreements. Now their people have something to prove instead of something against which to rebel.

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8. They never ignore the bigger picture.

Good leadership is about moving others to support the realization of a mission that goes beyond everyone involved. This gets people out of their woes and is a powerful element in energizing the collective. Find an emotional cause or set of values and commit yourself and everyone on board to that aim.

9. They're results-focused.

It’s not about being ‘busy’ to maintain the illusion that things are happening. This is a total waste of valuable time and energy. The best leaders are continually aware of the need to produce results in the direction of their stated objectives.

10. They never avoid uncomfortable truths.

Most ‘leaders’ avoid the real issues because they are scared. Great leaders are willing to turn up the flame and broach topics that take courage and can potentially upset and trigger. Why? Because they know that solutions lie beyond discomfort. They are willing to go where few dare in service of finding solutions. They use compassion in their approach, but they don’t avoid the needed uncomfortable conversations. We all have the capacity in us to be outstanding leaders. It takes awareness and care. Your impact on the world is within reach.

RELATED: 5 Critical Mental Skills Required To Be An Excellent Leader

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.