How to be a great leader

The first step to improving anything about yourself, including your leadership skills, is to take what you already do to the highest level, says Bob Little

He suggests ten ways to help you do this.

  1. Convince yourself that, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
  2. Become absorbed in it. Learn to care about every small improvement or new idea.
  3. Seek and savour positive feedback. Don’t let negative comments distract you from what you did right. If no-one else praises you, look back at the high points. Decide what makes them good – and how you can achieve them more often.
  4. Treat setbacks as learning experiences. Don’t waste time and energy denying defeat. Discuss the implications with colleagues. Limit the damage; then learn from the events that led to it.
  5. Don’t waste time complaining. Focus on what you can do to solve a problem and prevent it recurring.
  6. Assess the chances of a negative outcome and how bad it could be. Others probably won’t notice, so long as you’ve avoided obvious mistakes.
  7. Don’t see early problems as signs of failure. These are merely a chance to rectify early errors and make corrections – not a signal to give up.
  8. Accept some pain and deferred gratification. Success is often painful, lonely and a hard life – but you’ll have achieved a standard that leaves the rest behind.
  9. Look like a success, even if you don’t feel like one. What others see shapes their expectation of what they’ll get – and they’re the ones who’ll feel awkward once you do things that show that they under-rated you.
  10. Get others to promote you. We tend not to like people who tell us how good they are – but we tend to believe it when others praise these people. So, get other people to recommend you, promote your knowledge, skills and character, and so on.


About Bob Little

Bob Little is a communications professional (a writer, editor, commentator, speaker and broadcaster) specialising in the field of corporate L&D, who works internationally.


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