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5 Little Things That Make a BIG Difference as a Leader Part 5

5 Little Things That Make a BIG Difference as a Leader Part 5

Dan McCarthy | Great Leadership

April 02, 2010

This is the last of a five-part series about some of the little things you can start or stop doing that can make a BIG difference on how you are perceived as a leader.

The previous posts were:

Part 1: Show up on time
Part 2: Listen up!
Part 3: A little dose of humility
Part 4: 4 magic words



I have to tell you, this has been a much more challenging exercise than I thought it would be. I had a few things in mind when I came up with the idea, but after those, I really struggled to come up with five. The problem is, leadership isn’t easy. The things that matter the most are often the hardest to learn.

Strategic thinking? Uh uh, waay too hard.

Leading change? Good luck with that one.

How about presentation skills? How hard that that be? While it may be one of the relatively easier leadership competencies to master, it still take a LOT of hard work, technique, and practice.

How about coaching? Nope, damn hard to learn.

Even the simple one’s I came up with can take a lot of effort to do consistently well.

I thought about stopping at four and hoping no one will notice. Instead, I accepted it as a leadership development puzzle to solve.

So last night I sat down with a pad and once gain asked myself – “What could I possibly teach someone in 15 minutes or less that if they did it, it would make a significant difference in how they are perceived as a leader?”

I actually came up with about a dozen more ideas. Things like “watch your language and tongue”, and “develop a good posture and handshake”… good stuff, but not very impactful.

I then looked at a few leadership 360 assessments questionnaires and competency models to see if any of my items were included.

And then I found it! The one that stood out the most?

What is it? Find Out!


Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?