What Is Standout Leadership?

We don't need great leaders, we need leaders who stand out among their peers.

Which one do you notice?

Which one do you notice?

We don't need great leaders, we need leaders who standout among their peers.

A simple but useful way to crystallize the essentials of standout leadership is to express what it IS and what it IS NOT.

These comparatives will hopefully fuel your action plan to progress towards becoming a standout leader...

Standout leadership is about behaviour, not about theoretical constructs. Theory is useless unless it is unleashed with "violent" execution. Standouts view an academic pedigree as a means to an end, NOT the end.

It's about expression not advocating principles and axioms. Mediocre leaders are great at advocation, the standout ones trade advocation for showing how it's done.

It's about the deed not the pitch. Words are easy, results are tough.

It's about taking a punch and coming back for more when something doesn't work out. They get that "Plan B" is almost always required to achieve and inch of progress.

It's about serving not commanding others. "How can I help?" is the question they ask. They see their role as a "chief helper" in the organization.

It's about little things not a silver bullet. They believe that remarkable performance doesn't happen overnight; rather it's the result of many small successes over time.

It's about what THEY say not what you intend. Standouts understand that their brand and currency are derived from how they are perceived by crowd around them - the conversation about them - not from their views of themselves.

It's messy not neat and tidy. They relish "getting dirty" and going into the trenches with their people to get things done.

It's about passion not logic. Their emotional energy to achieve dominates their intellectual conclusion of what a solution looks like. 

It's about acceptance not expectation. They DO set expectations but accept imperfect results as a basis for coaching and improvement.

It's about feelings not facts; they know that people are attracted to "feelings experts" rather than logicians who "sell their mind" to attract followers.

It's about personally doing the deed not asking others to do it. There are times when delegation is inappropriate in terms of sending the message and showing the results expected. Standouts are "strategic selfies".

It's about informality not formality. Who do you view as more approachable: the person at the podium in jeans or the one dressed in a suit and tie?

It's about honouring the past not criticizing it when implementing change

It's about asking "How can we be different?" not "How can we implement best practices?" Copycats are a dime a dozen. Standouts set the standard. They HATE benchmarking others.

It's about uneasiness and insomnia not restful sleep. Standouts focus on what they have to do tomorrow to go beyond what they achieved today. They suffer from "sleepus interruptus". 

It's about personal fingerprints not delegation. They are a non-delegator for certain operational matters that require employees to "see how it's done".

It's about employees and customers not shareholders. They are "over- focused" on WHO buys their service rather than the owners who ultimately benefit from the sale.

It's about imperfection, not perfection.

It's about mistakes not risk aversion. More mistakes = more successes. It's common sense to standouts.

It's about speed not over-analysis. "Doing it" outranks "studying it". Remarkable ones know that analysis doesn't determine results.

It's about doing it not talking about it. Pontificating without acting are not welcome bedfellows to the great ones.

It's about simplicity not complexity. "Tell it like it is" in simple understandable language is the strategy of leaders with integrity.

It's a journey not a destination. Standout leaders commit themselves to the long term. They are loyal to the success of their organization and dedicate their lives to achieving it.

Standout leaders are a breed onto themselves. They are special. How many of these traits do you exhibit?

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Roy Osing
Roy Osing

Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of executive leadership experience. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.

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What Is Standout Leadership?
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