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10 Things Real Leaders Always Do

Lead This is not complicated, folks. Lead is the opposite of follow. When you spend a lot of your time trying to replicate how others do things, that’s not leading. It’s following. Great leaders lead by example. First they do, then they point the way for others to follow. You’re either one or the other, not both.

Manage Yes, leadership and management are different. Hallelujah. Whether it’s managing their company’s organization, brand, products, customer experience, operations, finances, whatever, business leaders spend most of their time managing. Leadership is a skill set. Manage is what they do.

Strategize In the old days, the big buzzword was invention. Then it was innovation. Now it’s improvement. Whatever. If you want to lead in business, you have to come up with a unique solution to a big problem that people are willing to pay for. You can call that Sylvester if you like, but I call it strategy.

Create culture The root of the word culture is cult. Steve Jobs created a unique, cult-like culture at Apple. Likewise John Mackey at Whole Foods and the original Trader Joe … Joe Coulombe, that is. If you’ve never been to Google, check out the movie “The Internship.” Great leaders are not cast in a mold. They break the mold.

Inspire We all need inspiration at times, but real leaders are usually inspired by their lives, which typically revolve around work and family. And since their job is to inspire and motivate others, they tend to have a pretty big source of it inside. If you’re in constant need of inspiration, you’re probably not leadership material.

Prioritize Before everyone became so obsessed with personal improvement, productivity, and time management, real executives and business leaders learned to prioritize their time. And they prioritize their organization’s time by setting direction and goals, as well. That’s how the work gets done on time.

Juggle No matter how well you prioritize or delegate, when your business is growing, you’ve got to keep a lot of balls up in the air. And if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating. For CEOs, especially in high-growth industries, multitasking is just a way of life … and I don’t mean tweeting while watching a YouTube video.

Plan, execute, adapt There’s a three-part cycle to operating just about any business: plan, execute, adapt. In the beginning it’s mostly ad-hoc, but the bigger a company gets and the faster it needs to scale, the more formalized its operating processes must be.

Make smart decisions Life is full of decisions but the vast majority — like what to eat for dinner or which phone to buy — aren’t super critical. Business is not the same because, unlike food choices, competitive markets are essentially zero-sum games. The bigger your title, the more critical your decisions. Great leaders make smart decisions.

Win Just about any type of human performance is described by a bell-curve. Every field has its top performers, its bottom performers, and everything in between. Leadership is no different. Good leaders win more than they lose. Great leaders consistently beat the competition. That’s just what they do, and they do it better than anyone else.

Bottom line: Leaders lead and followers follow. It’s not complicated — you’re either one or the other. Which are you? Source: Entrepreneur

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