The 7 Secrets of Exceptional Leadership

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An excerpt from
The 7 Secrets of Exceptional Leadership
by Brian Tracy

Introduction

Your ability to take charge, lead, and get the best out of yourself and others, is vital to your achieving your full potential in life. The good news is that leaders are made, usually self-made through work on themselves, not born. Leadership is action, not position. It is defined by what you do, not by the title on your business card.

A leader is an executive. What is an executive? It is someone who executes, takes action, achieves goals and moves ahead. What this means is that you can be a leader without followers.

The definition of leadership is: “The ability to get results.” When you think and act like a leader, you soon get the results that leaders get, and enjoy the results of leadership, respect,
esteem, more opportunities, higher pay and a life of significance making a real difference in your world. There is more good news. Leadership is not fixed. It is a set of learnable attitudes and skills. This means that you can learn any leadership skill you need to achieve any leadership goal that you can set for yourself.

How do top leaders think and act? In more than 3,300 studies of leaders over the centuries, they have identified “seven secrets of leadership” that you can learn and apply. But in reality, there are no real “secrets” of leadership. There are only timeless truths that have been discovered and rediscovered again and again over the centuries. Enjoy!

Everest and leadership

If you set out to climb Everest, one of the first things you do is hire a Sherpa. Originally an ethnic group in Nepal, today a  Sherpa is the term commonly used to describe the leaders of the mountain climbing expeditions. In business terms, you are hiring a CEO to help you get to the top. Thinking of yourself in the role of a Sherpa will help you become a stronger leader. This is especially true today when leaders must empower their people, not just command them.

As I reflected on the treacherous and risky conditions endured by climbers, it reminded me of our current business landscape and the need for courageous and thoughtful leadership. Here are five powerful lessons borrowed from those tough-as-nails, yet compassionate, expedition

leaders: By Josh Linkner. [UK]

1. Your real job is to lead others to the top. Sherpas are successful because they help those around them reach their full potential. The same is 100% true for you as a leader in your own
organization. Ironically, the more you make it about others, the more individual success you’ll enjoy.

2. Detailed planning saves lives. If your Sherpa looked up the mountain and just said: Let’s go? you’d sprint in the opposite direction. Great leaders carefully plot out each step of their attack to ensure a safe ride.

3. Expect and prepare for setbacks. Sherpas routinely deal with unexpected weather, animals, obscured paths and many other obstacles. Rather than becoming derailed, they build contingency plans and adapt in real-time. Do you?

4. Walk with your team. The role of a Sherpa isn’t to lead from afar. Instead, these leaders climb the mountain right alongside their teams. As a result, trust is built and success is achieved. You can?t ask your team to jump through fire unless you?re willing to do it too.

5. Become a great listener. To reach the summit, Sherpas must carefully listen on many fronts. They need to truly understand input from their team, the basecamp crew and other hikers. They also need to hear rapidly changing weather reports, advice from other Sherpas, as well as the latest advances in their field. Are you so busy talking that you fail to listen to others? Great leaders listen intensely and speak thoughtfully – quite the opposite of the typical blowhard boss.

The old-school ways of barking orders from afar, thinking you have every right answer, shooting from the hip, refusing to adapt, and putting yourself first have been rendered totally ineffective in today?s fiercely competitive economy. However, if you embrace the ways of the ancient Sherpa, you may just end up reaching the heights sought by many but enjoyed by few. It’s time to reach your own summit by shifting your approach. No ropes or helmet required.

Raise the Bar speaker Josh Linkner is a New York Times best-selling author on creativity and is currently delivering workshops on the same topic in addition to leadership, innovation and
entrepreneurship.

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