Some business owners set out to be successful. Others set out to make a difference and to do something meaningful that benefits a lot of people. Turns out the less you care about your own success, the more successful you will be, according to Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, top-rated professor at Wharton business school and best-selling author. According to him, this is the No. 1 trait of a great leader.
Great leadership often inspires others to achieve greatness. Here are some tips on becoming a better leader.
Your vision must be larger than yourself and larger than the moment, says world-famous business guru Tony Robbins. Leaders embrace what moves them, transforming these inspirations into clear visions of what they must (rather than “should”) achieve.
One of the most common misunderstandings of leadership is that it’s about acquiring power, Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of Lead From Within, wrote for Inc.com. The best leaders use whatever power they have–and their time and energy–to collaborate with others. Position yourself as a leader who is there to support the success of those around you. You’ll find that when they succeed, you succeed.
To be a good leader, you cannot major in minor things, and you must be less distracted than your competition, according to bestselling author Tim Ferriss. To get the few critical things done, you must develop incredible selective ignorance. Otherwise, the trivial will drown you.
Innovators see the world as a laboratory, says Hal Gregersen, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center and director of The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering Five Skills for Disruptive Innovation. True innovators have an experiential approach to business and go out of their way to enable others to do the same. They continually seek to answer those “what if” questions as they search for new solutions, they approach new activities with an open mind, and they have the courage to fail and to learn from those failures.
In addition to having the more commonly identified qualities of leadership such as focus, drive, passion, and perseverance, industry experts emphasize the importance of having emotional intelligence. Psychologist and bestselling author Daniel Goleman says there are three abilities that distinguish the best leaders from the average: self-awareness, which lets you know your strengths and limits and strengthens your inner ethical radar; self-management, which lets you lead yourself effectively; and empathy, which lets you read other people accurately. He maintains that truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence.
True leaders are always nurturing and mentoring others on their teams, which means letting other people take the wheel sometimes, Daskal says. When you allow others to take the lead, you give them a chance to showcase their skills and talent, and you inspire your whole team to bring their best.
Great leadership is about being a giver, not a taker, says Grant. The leaders he admires the most—and who also tend to produce the best results in their organizations—are the ones who have a bigger vision or ambition for the organization than self-glorification, fame or fortune. They inspire a different kind of effort, a different level of motivation, and a greater sense of belongingness.