Great Leaders Know These Secrets

leadership secrets revealed teresa devine

The number one secret and highest priority for anyone who aspires to be a great leader is to become aware of this critical fact. The most difficult person to lead and manage is yourself. The second most important secret is to effectively communicate your vision and expectations to the people you expect to support your business, organization or cause to ensure success.

The greatest stewards of people, companies, and organizations know that they must caste a vision with specific expectations and goals for themselves before they can articulate and expect others to follow them successfully. What would those people follow otherwise? They follow assumptions, misinterpretations, personal agendas, chaotic practices, misaligned and nonproductive activities. This culture becomes the unintentional by-product of a void in leadership.

If these secrets are so vital to success, why do we see such huge gaps in leadership today? I have to assume either a lack of knowledge or commitment. But, I have good news to share.

Here are 5 ways to gain self-awareness and start leading yourself and others more effectively today:

1. Assess your culture. Take a step back and ask yourself if the people, vendors, and others who support your business, organization or cause are meeting or exceeding your expected results. If not, why not? Ask yourself if you are communicating your vision, goals, and expectations of them in a way that guarantees success. If it’s not apparent, ask each team member to articulate your vision, goals, and expectations of them back to you. Their response should be a dead give-a-way on how well they understand your vision and their role in it.

2. Stop the Maverick Syndrome. News flash, flying by the seat of your pants is not a defined leadership style. The Maverick is the person in charge who has everything defined in their head and typically leads from a fast-paced doer approach offering limited direction to those around them. They have big expectations of others but rarely elaborate on them upfront. From their perspective, people let them down frequently, and they don’t take time to evaluate why that keeps happening. Instead, they blame others and reclaim ownership of the failed task they reluctantly delegated. They carry a Martyr attitude that the team should “just know” as if they are mind readers. If this describes you, I encourage you to acknowledge that what you’re doing is not the most effective way to lead and commit to leadership growth as a top priority.  Immediately start listening more to others and inquire about their needs to perform at their best.

3. Know your strengths. Thanks to technology and advanced intelligence, we can learn so much about ourselves to empower us as better leaders and people. Understanding our strengths and talent DNA gives us an advantage on how to develop ourselves effortlessly while having fun. When we unknowingly fight against our strengths, we struggle with relationships more and limit our ability to empower others to succeed.

4. Know your team. As leaders, we expect the people who work for us to invest their time, commitment, and energy to our mission. In turn, they expect a connection with the leader and belonging to the purpose in which they have enlisted.  If you’re not willing to spend the necessary time with your team, how can you expect them to deliver on the mission successfully? People need face time to build a relationship of trust, commitment, and loyalty.

5. Slow down to speed up. You’re in charge and nothing will change until you make leadership development for yourself a top priority. It’s not selfish, in fact, it is one of the most selfless acts that you will do for others interacting with you. De-prioritize less critical activities by pushing out due dates a few weeks or months. Being a responsible steward of business priorities takes leadership discipline and provides immediate relief to you and the team while building a stronger culture. With the freed up time, establish your vision, goals, job roles, operating procedures, and a communication plan to foster engagement, enthusiasm, and alignment among the group. It’s hard work, but worth every minute of your time. You will be amazed at the reaction and renewed energy within your organization.

You might feel discouraged or overwhelmed at this point realizing that much of the above describes you knowing that the business, organization or cause cannot stop so that you can get your act together. I say that with sincere compassion and empathy because I have been there. We all have two choices. We can either keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result (the definition of insanity) OR we can embrace the knowledge and commit to lifelong personal growth. When we stop learning, we stop growing and miss out on the incredible experiences that foster success for ourselves, and more importantly, for those in our sphere of influence.

If you want to go more in-depth with leadership development, team management, or building a fantastic work culture, contact Teresa Devine at

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