40 Immediate Ways to Be an (Even) Better Leader

You’re a good leader. You run a good organization. You have a good product and a good brand. You have good customer service. Your sales are good. You have good people on your team and a good culture. So if everything is so good, why are you unsatisfied?

My bet is that you have finally arrived at the point where you see it too — good is not enough.

Being good might have got you to here, but it doesn’t have the power to take you and your company into your next magnificent chapter.

There is no better time than right now to question your current standards of leadership and set new, extraordinary ones for yourself. Start by focusing on the little things that inspire, motivate, and move people to dream bigger and reach higher.

Here’s 40 Ways You Can Go From Good to Extraordinary:

  1. Stop focusing so much on financial and material gain. It is not the only measure of success.
  2. Practice patience. When you always look for the short cut, the easy way, or the trick, you don’t develop mastery.
  3. Put away your phone in meetings and during conversations with other people. They deserve your attention.
  4. Keep your north star in focus 100% of the time.
  5. Give your employees a paid day off on their birthday.
  6. Stop huffing and puffing when things go wrong. It puts people on edge.
  7. Uncross your legs and arms. Open body language makes people feel less tense.
  8. Clean the toilet and mop the floors. You’re never too good to do the dirty work.
  9. Look someone straight in the eyes and say, “You make the world a better place.”
  10. Include your employees’ spouses or partners at work events, social gatherings and on trips. Work is easier for your employees when they have support at home.
  11. Hand-write thank you notes. It’s a lost art.
  12. Get out from behind your desk and step into the trenches. Sit next to employees, listen to their feedback, and walk in their shoes. You’ll see things on the ground that you’ll never see from the sky.
  13. Smile more. Smiles are contagious.
  14. Be intensely vigilant about who you allow into your organization. One bad apple spoils the bunch.
  15. Don’t just talk, do. Talk is getting cheaper by the minute.
  16. Never lie, cheat or make excuses.
  17. Never belittle an employee. It says more about you than it does about them.
  18. Be all in. Part-time leaders don’t win the game.
  19. Accept responsibility for creating the culture, like you’re a parent creating a childhood. Their experience is on you.
  20. Make your values mean something. They shouldn’t just be words on your website or posters on your walls. Embed your values into your systems and processes. Hire by them, dream by them, fall on your sword by them.
  21. Don’t settle for mediocrity. When you’re in the middle, you’re just as close to the bottom as you are to the top.
  22. When someone asks you for a piece of advice, give it to them with enthusiasm and tell them to come back if they need more in the future.
  23. Find a mentor who inspires you. All great leaders need a great leader.
  24. Intervene if you witness something you don’t like.
  25. Don’t stand by and watch people be mistreated.
  26. Give people a path so they see their future with you. Turn up the volume on training and personal development.
  27. Move away from command and control toward co-creation and participatory management.
  28. Talk face-to-face. Discussing important matters over email, text and Slack can backfire.
  29. Keep your word. Your word is your bond (shout out to Michelle Obama).
  30. Keep calm and cool in turbulent times. How else do you think Brady won the Super Bowl?
  31. Show, don’t tell. Employee behavior is a direct result of your own actions.
  32. Send an email of appreciation to someone–and let them know you just wanted to express your gratitude, so they don’t need to write back.
  33. Shut up and listen. Not only to what people say, but to what they don’t say. The absence of words speaks loudly when you pay attention.
  34. Share a specific example with your team of something an employee did and how it made a difference.
  35. Speak from the heart.
  36. Write a blog post about how your team helped you see things differently and dedicate it to them.
  37. Give someone a book you’ve read and inscribe the inside cover with a meaningful message.
  38. Share things that inspire you. That uplifting article? That tear-jerking documentary? That video that blew your mind? Send them to your team.
  39. Kneel at the altar of the brand. Continuously invest in it, nurture it, and improve it. Don’t just leave it to the marketing department.
  40. Have some courage, man. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

Sunny Bonnell

Described as a visionary thinker, Sunny Bonnell is co-founder at Motto. Sunny was named GDUSA's Top 25 People to Watch and has been featured in AMEX, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc. and more. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.