Jim Collins and his team of researchers spent five years exploring what made companies go from good to great. And through his work, many companies have been positively impacted. But, how do you go from a good leader to a great one?

great_executive_leadership_quoteThe destination is the journey. Or at least it should be. Life should be a continual improvement process (my motto is ‘life is an evolution’). What small win can you achieve today that will lead to a bigger win tomorrow? In terms of your own development, think of something you already do well, but you would like to really excel at and make a plan for how you can get to the next level.

Take empathy for example. Maybe you feel that you are a very empathetic person; and your friends and family agree – and usually your colleagues agree. But, there are also times when you just don’t even consider how your team feels, especially when you are rushed to meet a deadline, or you have missed an opportunity. At those times, it is difficult to focus on anything but the task at hand, and the fact that you work with people falls by the wayside. How can you make a plan to improve your empathy during those times and that environment?

First, consider what you do at home. Assuming you feel like you do a good job of maintaining your empathy even in tough times with your friends and family, what do you focus on to ensure that you stay the course and consider their feelings? Now that you have that idea in mind, try to use that same technique with your colleagues. The environment may be different, but what you do well in one context can certainly translate into doing that well in another.

If you are struggling with this idea of translating a behavior from one environment into a completely different environment, consider these stumbling blocks: How your values may differ with your colleagues; you may be harboring a grudge from a past experience or you may have an inherent bias that prevents you from putting yourself in the shoes of your colleagues. Be introspective and consider where the impasse may be coming from and then make your best effort to push through what may be clouding your empathy. Now, take this idea and apply it to other leadership competencies you want to continue to develop.

In reality, great leadership is rare. But, when great leadership happens, amazing things happen for the people and organizations they work within. Companies exponentially get to the next level of impacting lives and affecting society through the amazing innovations they can bring forth to the world.

Maybe great leadership seems elusive, but that doesn’t mean you should not stop trying. Just the mere idea that you are working to improve your leadership competencies will make you a better person and a better leader; and that will inspire those around you—and who knows what great things are in store in the future…


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