12 Daily Actions of Great Leaders

What separates a mediocre leader from a great one?

It’s easy to measure great leaders by specific, singular actions or initiatives that they are often remembered for.

But, when you think about the great leaders you’ve worked with closely, you know that great leadership is less about monumental actions, and more about daily habits and actions that motivate, inspire, and encourage accountability.

Action, attitude, and consistency are a few things that set truly great leaders apart from their peers, but within those categories are specific actions that successful leaders take daily to reach their goals.

Following are 15 specific daily actions practiced by many unsung leadership heroes.

1. Great leaders nurture respect — not fear

They understand that, in order for their team to function in a positive manner, they cannot rule with an iron fist.

Fear creates a hotbed of hatred and mistrust, slowing progress and creating bottlenecks around productivity. Effective leaders use constructive guidance.

2. Great leaders practice authenticity

When it comes to the top attributes of leaders, enough can’t be said about authenticity.

People are smart. They are able to see through a false persona quickly. True leaders who emanate genuine authenticity inspire trust.

Being authentic doesn’t mean being universally liked, but it does create a significant level of trust and respect. Effective leaders are genuine. They have faults and aspirations and they convey their purpose with clarity.

3. Great leaders put their teams first

With great power comes great responsibility.

And it’s true! Whether this responsibility is to the masses or a group of ten employees, great leaders put their tribes first.

Leaders like Fidel Castro who use their power for personal gain ultimately end up with the dissatisfaction — and therefore lost loyalty — of their followers.

4. Great leaders empathize

Studies have shown that one of the most important qualities of a leader is empathy for others. Everyone has their own “right” way to do something, but there is still enormous value in understanding how and why someone does it differently.

Great leaders take the time to walk a mile in the shoes of the people they manage and engage with.

5. Great leaders inspire

When creativity and drive fade, great leaders remind us why we’re there.

Leaders who constantly inspire themselves and others constantly challenge the team’s potential — and even reach or exceed goals. They know here are always new, exciting ways to look at things.

Whether introducing one’s team to a fresh marketing strategy, taking them to a new art exhibit or simply posting inspirational quotes up on the wall, a great leader must always keep motivation strong and lead by example.

6. Great leaders ruthlessly prioritize

It’s easy for anyone to invent a grandiose plan for a promising future.

Following through is an entirely different beast, and it requires a laser-like focus on the milestones along the journey to a specific outcome.

Think about the obstacles Steve Jobs faced on the journey to provide the average person with accessible technology. in order to provide the average person with accessible technology.

Great leaders prioritize what is most important in reaching their goals, and keep their teams focused and committed as well, even when they feel like giving up most.

7. Great leaders stay loyal

Loyalty is underrated.

Loyalty means keeping teams in the loop, and sometimes taking responsibility for failures, and sharing in success.

Demonstrating loyalty and inspiring loyalty is about transparency, trust, and authenticity. Great leaders hold themselves accountable to their team, report to those who report to them, and give trust in order to earn it.

8. Great leaders show their appreciation every day

Managers who only speak up when their employees do something wrong are not likely to rise on the popularity scale.

While this has to do with much more than popularity, it is vital that leaders remain positive.

Showing a little bit of appreciation goes a long way! It could come in the form of bonuses, days off, or simply encouraging words. People who feel appreciated are much more likely not only to stay at a job but to put even more effort into their jobs.

9. Great leaders stay connected to a mission

Great leaders know that they must stay focused on their mission if they want their teams to follow suit.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led people to fight against the inequality that racism brought to the United States, and he believed in his cause so much that he was willing to die for it.

Every day of his life was dedicated toward making progress toward a just society, and his supporters knew that. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t just believe in his cause, his life embodied it.

While great leaders don’t necessarily need to “die for a cause”, they do need to stay connected to their mission on daily basis.

10. Great leaders communicate effectively

Whether it’s verbal, emails, text messages, or public speaking, great leaders have mastered effective communication. They know how to be direct and make others feel comfortable.

This encourages transparency, communication, and accountability within organizations. It also enables their teams to effectively take action on projects that are assigned to them and execute tasks with precision — the first time.

11. Great leaders delegate

Truly effective leaders know they can’t do it by themselves.

Part of creating trust is delegating responsibility and trusting (or training) other people to handle tasks.
Leaders who can’t delegate will not be able to manage anyone but themselves, nor will they be able to prioritize effectively.

Leaders who can’t delegate will not be able to manage anyone but themselves, nor will they be able to prioritize effectively.

12. Great leaders accept failure gracefully

The road to success is paved with failure.

But, the difference between a mediocre leader and a great one is that the latter will know how to tackle roadblocks. A great leader knows how to take failure and turn it into an opportunity to better his or her strategy!

Being a great leader is simple, but it’s not easy. If you’re on your own path to great leadership, start practicing these habits with yourself. Soon, taking these actions every day will be second nature.

What do you think of this list of great leaders’ attributes? Have you been in a leadership position, and what was your experience? Please let us know in the comments below!