Effective Leaders Stand Out (part one)

In preparation for a breakout session at an upcoming conference, I developed a list of ten things a leader can do to stand out and get noticed.  Not in a “look at me!” kind of way, but in a way that will help the leader connect more to others, and to enable others to connect as well.

While all ten pointers are applicable to all potential leaders, there are four that newer, more fast-paced leaders, might relate to more than the experienced.  So, those four this week, the rest next week.  Here we go:

1) Never have the last word.

In many discussions, strong leaders are tempted to consider them to be arguments or debates– opportunities to change hearts and minds.  Carnegie says it well – you can never win an argument.  If you lose, you lose.  If you win, you lost.  Letting others have the last word will empower them and set you apart as thoughtful.

2) Avoid earbuds/headphones in public.

Not because its rude, or associated with a younger generation, or because it may appear to be a selfish attempt to control your own environment; but because it interferes with your ability to connect.  Set yourself apart by always being open to connection.

3) Use skillful writing mechanics.

The proliferation of fast electronic communication has made it acceptable to abbreviate words and truncate sentences.  FWIW -> I do it 2.  Sometimes.  This is good news – it makes it easy to set yourself apart by using traditional methods like complete words and sentences.  I heard an anecdote last week about a college professor getting an email from a student who had to get out of a commitment.  It was two paragraphs, well-written.  Think that student set herself apart?  Absolutely.

4) Habitually use pleasantries and good etiquette.

Another casualty of speed and shortened communication is the use of “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”.  Great news!  If you make those words, and other polite conventions, your habit, it’s easy to set yourself apart.  “You’re welcome” is the huge one; it conveys so much more openness and connecting than things like “yup” or “no prob,” and honors the “thanker” more than “no, thank YOU.”

If you set yourself apart, you will connect better, and with more people.  Then, you stand a greater chance of doing some good in the world.

6 Responses

  1. Julie Feirer
    | Reply

    As a reading/language arts teacher who worked with young adults, my motto was, “You need to be able to present yourself positively and intelligently on paper and in person.” It’s a quote from a grad school teacher of mine, Kari Staack of Waverly, Iowa. When my students wondered why we spent time proofreading, revising, editing, etc., I made the point that using clear, effective written communication would set them apart in their future pursuits in school and life. However, we can’t ignore that digital/text language exists, and it may be beneficial to be good at that too, in some worlds. For some, knowing when it’s more appropriate to use real English is common sense, but perhaps that’s the next thing that needs to be explicitly taught. Knowing which type of language to use in a given situation is part of being able to present yourself positively and intelligently.

  2. Alan Feirer
    | Reply

    I loved that motto, and that poster that your students saw on their way out the door of your classroom.
    Perhaps you could put it on OUR door, now…
    Thanks! 🙂

  3. Wade
    | Reply

    I used to joke with my daughter that the best way to stop students from texting during school was to teach it and assess it. There is some merit to Julie’s suggestion that addressing txt shrthand in English class is beneficial.

  4. Kari Staack
    | Reply

    Amen! Amen!! Practicing the positive and intelligent interactions in all situations, and having them embedded in every conversation makes for an environment that breeds excellence! Thank you for sharing, Julie! Love those students in front of you! They are counting on it! 😀 Kari Staack

  5. Sally Wilke
    | Reply

    Very helpful for pastors too. Thanks Alan, and responders.

    • alanfeirer
      | Reply

      Thanks, everyone, for engaging. Next week, more of this “how to set yourself apart” stuff. Hope it is at least as helpful.

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