The 3 Principles of Exceptional Leadership

The foundations of Exceptional Leadership are fundamentally different to those you will find in other leadership text books and training. Most leadership training is based on studies of the behaviours of successful leaders. The basis on which I have developed these principles of Exceptional Leadership come from asking a different question:-

What is it that stops people from becoming the Exceptional Leader they have the potential to be?

When you approach the subject from this direction it points to the most effective things that you can do quickly to become a much more effective leader and with ongoing practice become an Exceptional Leader. Based on my work with over 300 senior business leaders, 7 years of research and my own experience, I have observed the following three principles of Exceptional Leadership.

1. Exceptional Leaders Start with Self

You can’t lead anyone else if you can’t lead yourself.

It is immediately obvious to anyone when their leader doesn’t act in the way he or she demands of their team.

This lack of consistency undermines the trust that is essential for anyone in a leadership position.

The skill of leading one’s self is Personal Mastery and is not usually covered in most leadership development programs.

2. Exceptional Leaders Understand Human Behaviour

You don’t have to be a psychologist to be a leader but you do have to understand people. If you don’t know what drives people and why they do what they do your only option is to lead from a position of demand and command, based on your level of power. This leadership style causes people to avoid responsibility and to leave their initiative and creativity at home. It leads to people feeling that they are unappreciated, under-valued and they feel unfulfilled in their work.

When you understand what drives people you can bring out their best in every situation.

3. Exceptional Leaders Understand the Human Spirit

Any organisation needs people who can “do” the work. Having the right skills is important.

But what is more important is the spirit which people bring to their work.

Having the right skills is not enough.

Spirit is the energy you bring to your work and Exceptional Leaders know how to inspire the spirit in themselves and their people.

Skills can be trained but spirit has to be nurtured.

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