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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

First published August 14, 2010

10 tiny signs of great leadership 

Leadership is often seen in the tiny things. Here’s my top 10 tiny things great leaders do:

1. In meetings, they turn and face people who are speaking to them. Tiny leaders assume and expect people will look at them.

2. They make eye contact and focus on what the other person is saying. Tiny leaders adopt an “I’m processing what you’re saying” forward-focused “dead-face” stare.

3. They let people finish their thought before responding. Tiny leaders have their response formulated one-third the way through what the other person is saying, and can’t resist blurting it out.

4. They focus on one point per interaction. Tiny leaders have big meetings with sprawling agendas.

5. They don’t use affirming qualifiers. Instead of “This is absolutely the most fundamentally important thing we will do this year”, they say “It’s important we do this”. The tinier the leader, the more affirming qualifiers they use.

6. They put people at ease. Tiny leaders put other people at dis-ease.

7. They share credit, even beyond the point of reasonableness. Tiny leaders are net borrowers of credit from others.

8. They bring air into the room. Tiny leaders suck the air out of the room.

9. They want to find the smartest person in the room. Tiny leaders want to be the smartest person in the room.

10. They consistently seek feedback, in a non-needy manner. Tiny leaders… well, I guess by now you can finish this one yourself…

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