The 8 Core Principles of Exceptional Leaders


Incredible leaders have a different understanding of their role than average leaders. They get these things right from the offset. What common principles do you share with them?

  1. Don’t be a warmonger

    Competitive companies are often divided between departments, teams and groups. They are often compared against one another and mark their successes against another’s progress. Sales teams (in particular) often see customers as territory ready to be claimed and do not help one another to succeed the way that they should.

    Exceptional leaders unite their teams with a single vision, one where each team is helping each other in order to achieve their goals.
  2. A company is a not a machine

    Rigid structures and rules will only get you so far before you lose engagement with your staff. Remember you lead real people with emotions, ideas and passions; these people are part of a community. Exceptional leaders inspire their people to be better versions of themselves and this feeds through into their actions for the company.
  3. Loosen your grip

    Are you over managing your staff? It’s time to step back and think about your actions as a leader. If you are creating an environment where an individual’s initiative is being squashed you need to lessen your grip immediately.

    Excellent bosses encourage ownership and accountability. As a leader you must lead your team in the right direction and ensure that they have the correct resources to get the job done.

  4. TRUST and RESPECT your staff

    Everyone that works with you or for you is a fully functioning adult. If you are encouraging your staff to oversee their teams as patriarchs this will encourage members to take a backseat on their actions, or even worse, increase levels of mistrust and cause people to doubt their own capabilities.
    Excellent leaders treat every team member with the highest level of trust and respect. As a result, ownership and accountability is greater.
  5. Positive Motivation Works

    Fear of failure is crippling in bad organisations. If a team member feels unsafe to make risky decisions then they are incapable of making the right ones.

    Brilliant leaders create an inclusive culture of engagement and fulfilment. They align their people in their vision and help others see how they can continue to be a part of it.
  6. Change = Opportunity

    Extraordinary leaders see change as an opportunity. They understand that continued success is only achieved by ensuring that their organisation continues to embrace new ideas.
  7. Use Technology to Empower Your People

    Technology is not just about processes. The processes are there to make everyone else’s lives easier.

    Exceptional leaders adapt their systems to fit the new requirements of their tools and their workforce; they don’t allow the systems to tie everyone down. You must accept that older systems are not always right; make sure you can be as flexible as possible otherwise everybody will suffer (including your customers). 
  8. Work is a happy place

    You and your people spend most of your time at work, so we should make every effort to make this a positive experience. This not only has an effect on the morale of your team this also has a direct effect on performance. 

    As a leader you are not a dictator, you are an instigator and inspiration, but there’s only so much you and your management team can do.

    If those who are miserable have been given every option to enjoy their work, then you should consider if it may be time for them to move on into another role?

    Your conscience and your team will thank you for it.

Do you follow any of these core principles? Do you think that we should add some more to this list?

More from Vistage:

The 5 Dyfunctions of a Team- Jim Alampi


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