5 Ways to Become an Extraordinary Leader

Boss vs. Leader

Some people are born leaders. They always know the right things to say and what needs to be done to achieve their goals. Naturally influential, they easily attract the respect of their followers and colleagues, able to motivate others to work towards a greater objective. But how do they achieve this? And how can others, especially those just beginning to take on a leadership role, emulate their success?

If you feel that you have been unsuccessful in gaining the respect of your employees, have been failing at motivating them, or just simply could not charm your way out of a paper bag, here are 5 ways you can improve yourself as a leader.

1. Do

Do rather than dictate. Just because you are a CEO, a supervisor, or manager, does not automatically make you a leader. Telling everyone what to do and making demands while you sit behind your desk is less than inspirational. Being active and involved in a project, actually getting your hands dirty, will show your employees that you know what you’re doing and that you care about the project. Rather than micro-managing or attempting to control your employees, be one of them. Work alongside them. Just as with team sports, seeing your team captain out there taking hits and putting his heart in the game will inspire you to play harder. Be an example of what you want them to be.

2. Listen

A lot of the time, following your gut and listening to your instincts can be extremely effective. But other times, what you may think is the best solution might not be. Before you make an important decision, get the opinions of others and open your mind to other ideas. What is pressing them? What works for them? What issues are they seeing that you are not? Not only is listening helpful to getting a better handle on the bigger picture and recognizing the existence of other factors, but it also shows your employees that their input matters to you. It shows that you care, and that you are not just out for your own personal interest. Working as team is important, and you must remember that not only are you leading a team, but you are part of that team.

3. Recognize

One of the best ways to bolster productivity and earn the respect of your employees is by showing that you respect them and appreciate the work they are doing. Effective employee recognition begins with finding meaningful and creative ways to make someone feel like the work they are doing is valuable to the company. You don’t have to be their best friend. Just show that you care. Realize that your employees are people who are trying to earn a living and have everyday struggles just like you do. Say thanks, and mean it.

4. Be Positive & Stay Calm

All too often I have dealt with Debbie Downer managers. People who have taken on so much responsibility that they become nervous wrecks, stressing out over anything and everything and taking out their frustrations on their employees as a result. I understand that work can be intensely consuming and overwhelming. With all the fires that need extinguishing, it is easy to forget about the feelings of others. Take a moment to realize that negativity can quickly permeate a room. If you are expressing yourself in an unpleasant way, others around you will might end up feeling anxious too. They will also be less likely to want to be around you or seek your advice. If you want people to follow you, and want to follow you, make it a positive experience. Don’t stress the little things, make yourself dependable and accessible so that others will give you the support you need. That way, everyone wins.

5. Be Extraordinary

As a leader, you are supposed to stand out. The greatest leaders are not just any Average Joes, but people who appeal to a crowd because they offer a new, exciting perspective that people want to be a part of. They are so passionate that they want others to share in it. They are inspirational because they demonstrate confidence and offer something that’s real. People should feel that, under your guidance, they can accomplish anything they strive to accomplish. And they can, as long as you truly want to share your dreams of success with them. Engage them. If you are extraordinary and allow others to be extraordinary, then extraordinary things will most certainly happen.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” —Douglas MacArthur

Leveraging People and Profit: The Hard Work of Soft Management

What’s an “Altrupreneur”®?

Bernie Nagle has been a student of “engagement” in the workplace for nearly 40 years, primarily in manufacturing environments, either as an executive or as a consultant.  He is also co-author of the book, Leveraging People and Profit: The Hard Work of Soft Management, where he coined the term “Altrupreneur”.

Leveraging-People-Profit-Altrupreneur3Nagle describes an “altrupreneur” as one who conducts the affairs of an enterprise with conspicuous regard for the welfare of others, builds communities that produce value for all the organization’s stakeholders. This new breed of leader responds to the needs of the organization and the demands of people coming to the workplace and marketplace.  The manager who can balance the people and profit factors has the best chance of succeeding in tomorrow’s corporation.

MeritShare co-founder Travis Pearl first connected with Bernie on Linkedin and recently conducted this interview.

Tell us about yourself?

I have both experienced and observed the phenomenon of engagement as an employee, manager, senior executive, consultant, author, speaker, business owner, and facilitator.  

I started consulting back in 1995, after 22 years in the Food Industry, when the company I worked for was acquired. At that time I was VP Manufacturing for a $2.0 bil. company, responsible for 7 plants  Instead of moving to Europe with the acquiring company, I took the “package” and went to outplacement. It was at that point I decided to begin writing my book and go out on my own.  After consulting and speaking on my own for a period of time, I was recruited by PriceWaterhouse Consulting and I worked for them until I was recruited by one of their clients to lead a global business process improvement initiative in 13 locations in 9 countries.  

Break it down for us Bernie

 My experience has taught me some simple truths about people in the workplace:

  1. The vast majority of people are fundamentally good; they want to do a good job, improve and grow

  2. Everyone is really good at something

  3. The greatest motivator in the workplace is believing at the end of the day that what you did made a positive difference

  4. People and Profit are not mutually exclusive business choices

Enlightened leaders know these truths intuitively and act accordingly, with integrity and respect.

Why did you start your consulting/training company – what is your mission?

My mission was then, and remains today, “Ubertas per Beneficium” (Abundance through Service).  My goal is to establish a covenant mentality of mutual service in the workplace, through whatever means of evangelization is at my disposal.  My most fervent wish is to get back to being able to support myself financially doing this work full-time as an independent operator or as part of a larger training/consulting firm.

Explain the meaning of “Altrupreneur” – how did you establish that term and what does it mean to you?

The word, Altrupreneur ®, is an improbable union of the words, “Altruistic” and “Entrepreneur”. An Altrupreneur ® is a transformational leader who understands a simple, underlying principle of human nature:

“Engagement, trust, loyalty, and followership, are inspired by the leader’s willingness to value and serve ‘the other’.”

I wanted to create a word that communicated a workable middle-ground meld of the attributes that make for a successful entrepreneur, as well as those of a genuine altruist.  These were the traits I had observed in successful manager/leaders who had the ability to truly engage people in the workplace and elicit discretionary effort, innovation and enthusiasm.  These special leaders had keen business sense and a nose for the bottom line, and at the same time, were people of high integrity, uncommon empathy, and genuine concern for the welfare of others.  In other words, they held others in “high regard”; hence the frequent references to the creation of a “high regard” work environment.

If you had to provide three leadership principles around servant leadership, one sentence each, what would they be?

Leadership Principle #1   Leadership exists only through the voluntary gift of follower-ship

Leadership Principle #2   The gift of followership is given for their reasons, not yours

Leadership Principle #3   You can neither know nor engage their reasons unless by your actions you embody a spirit of humility, respect and service for others


Your website states that Altrupreneurs ‘create “virtually free” new sources of Competitive Advantage in a sustainable world, please explain?  

The lack of engagement in the workforce has been demonstrated repeatedly in study after study.  It is no longer an area of speculation, with some studies estimating as high as 70% to 80% of the workforce actively disengaged.  This group falls into the “quit and stayed” category.  It has been my contention, as I stated emphatically in my book nearly 20 years ago, “the greatest waste of assets in all organizations is the untapped creativity and innovative energy of an engaged workforce.”  Your competitors may outspend you in every asset category, but they cannot buy, nor can they match the creativity and innovation of a team of energized workers.  That enthusiasm and innovative energy cannot be forced it cannot be coerced and it cannot be bought…it must be led.  People do things for THEIR reasons, not yours.  The enlightened, servant leader is uniquely able to connect with the workforce where THEY are, with an interest in THEIR needs, and ignite that enthusiasm and innovative energy on behalf of the organization.  This is the next frontier in sustainable competitive advantage.

What are the most important traits, attributes for Enlightened Leadership?

  • Integrity

  • Humility

  • Regard/Respect for others

  • Competence

  • Optimism

  • Communication

  • Enthusiasm

What companies do you admire the most?

There is a company (literally a few miles from where I live) I recently got to know, and had a chance to interview the president, Stuart Watson.  The company is named Truline, and they make bearing housings for super high-tech applications, like aircraft fuel pumps.  Stuart and the company owner have created a Servant Leadership culture as genuine as any I have ever witnessed in the last two decades.  When I was researching my book,  I had the privilege to speak to some of the giants of the Servant Leadership world, like Max DePree, Herb Kelleher and Art Wainwright, and I will tell you this company is no less impressive. 

bernie

We thank Bernie for his time, insights and advice.

If you would like more information on Bernie, please visit his website  Altrupreneur.com