Although the context of leadership has changed radically over the years, the content of leadership has not changed much at all. These are five practices an exemplary leader must exhibit;
Model the way.
Titles are granted, but your behavior earns you respect. Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others. To model the behavior they expect of others, leaders must first be clear about guiding principles. Leaders must find their own voice, and then they must clearly and distinctively give voice to their values.
Leadership is not about the titles or ranks, but about personal responsibility and setting a positive example. Leaders have to set examples through daily actions that demonstrate that they are deeply committed to their beliefs.
Inspire a shared vision.
People have had visions and dreams of what could be. They had absolute faith in their dreams, to make those extraordinary things happen. Every organization begins with a vision. It is the force that creates the future. Leaders envision the future by imagining exciting possibilities. You need to have an appreciation of the past and a clear image of what the results should look like even before starting any project. You have to connect to what is meaningful to others and create the belief that people can achieve something big. Otherwise, people may not realize how their work is important and their contributions fit into the big picture
Leaders have to enlist others in a common vision. To enlist people in a vision, leaders must know their follower, speak their language and must have intimate knowledge of people’s dreams, hopes, aspirations, visions and values.
Challenge the status quo.
Every single leader has had to move or change from the status quo. Not one person achieved the best by keeping things the same, you would yield the same result. Leaders have had to embrace opportunities to grow, innovate and improve.
Leaders venture out. None of the successful leaders we celebrate now sat down idle waiting for luck to cross their path.. Leaders are pioneers. They are willing to step out into the unknown. They search for opportunities to create, grow and improve. Leaders know well that innovation and change involve experimenting and taking risks. Despite that, they proceed anyway.
Try, fail, learn. Try, fail, learn. Try, fail, learn. That is the leader’s mantra.
Enable others to act.
Grand dreams do not become significant realities through the actions of a single person. Achieving greatness requires a team effort built on trust and a solid relationship with others. It was essential to be open. Leaders make it possible for others to do good work. They know that those who are expected to produce the results must feel a sense of personal power and ownership. Exemplary leaders work to make people feel strong, capable and committed. Leaders enable others to act not by hoarding the power they have, but by giving it away.
On the way to the top, people become exhausted, frustrated and are often tempted to give up. People want to know that their managers believe in them and in their abilities to get a job done. They want to feel valued by their employers, and acknowledging an accomplishment is a great way to demonstrate their value. It is part of the leader’s job to appreciate people for their contributions and to celebrate their victories.