10 Truths Grounded Leaders Tell Themselves Each Day
We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »
When no one is around, I can vouch for the fact that leaders do talk to themselves. During those conversations with ourselves, we may be assessing an issue, thinking of a solution or seeing how a response should be best formulated when giving information to make sure it sounds the way it’s meant to sound.
What sets remarkable leaders above all others is their ability to tell themselves these truths everyday, which keep them focused, grounded, and aware:
1. “I can always do better.”
Reaching CEO does not mean you have reached the pinnacle of your success and fulfilled your potential. It does not even guarantee that you are a good CEO. Like everyone else, you can always make improvements to your existing skills and personal traits, as well as develop new ones.
2. “I have been wrong on occasion.”
Admitting you have made a mistake does not diminish your leadership. If anything, it elevates you in the eyes of others who admire your ability to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. It shows that accountability doesn't put you in hot water. You just take care of the problem if it's yours.
3. “I am only as good as my team.”
Successful leaders recognize that success has not come from just what they have done. Instead, they have simply guided and provided the resources for the true talent responsible for the company’s results. Some of the most remarkable leaders are also the most humble.
4. “I must lead by example.”
“Walk the talk” is a long-used buzz phrase because it is true that walking the talk is what effective leaders do. Standing there and telling everyone else what to do but not doing it yourself certainly will not motivate anyone. However, when a leader does what they ask, suggest or tell their team, more people will actually follow suit.
5. “I get more from my team when I inspire them.”
There is no truer statement, especially during tough times when it is easy to lose motivation and hard to keep sight of goals. Like the coach of a football team that is looking dejectedly at the scoreboard and sees a huge gap between the scores, a remarkable leader can fire up their team to play past the current results, close in and surpass whatever challenge is in their way.
6. “I retain talent by rewarding and recognizing individuals.”
A leader who understands talent drives success realizes they have to do something to keep that talent. While remarkable leaders differ on what rewards and recognition they find works best, the truth is that giving something in return for what they are getting from this talent is the best way to retain them. Employees who know they are valued by leadership are more likely to stick around.
7. “I love what I am doing.”
Telling themselves that they love their job does not mean they need the reminder to carry on. In most cases, it actually means that the remarkable leader is simply expressing their enthusiasm and passion for what they are doing. Sometimes they are thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this!”
Passion for what they do makes leaders inspiring and able to excite their teams. Love, happiness, energy and satisfaction are infectious.
8. “I will never be done learning.”
The most successful leaders note their voracious appetites for knowledge accumulation. They are interested in what others can tell them as well as what they can uncover themselves through research and study. These successful leaders make learning a lifetime career because knowledge is power that can propel that leader and their company ahead of those who do not focus on the continual learning process.
9. “I need to communicate more.”
No leader has ever been criticized for over-communicating. The top leaders in the business world understand that they can always do a better job with communicating to their team and other stakeholders. Communication can be more frequent using new and evolving channels, better messaging or simply listening actively. I've had to work very hard to become better at this.
10. “I can fail and still succeed.”
Remarkable leaders realize that winning isn’t everything. Successful leaders embrace their failures for what they learned and how that led them to their success. Leaders who work through failure find that when success comes, it is that much sweeter. They appreciate their hard won successes.
These truths serve as mantras, affirmations and inspiration for personal goals that are important to emphasize daily. It reminds good leaders where they stand with the employees, family and friends who are their real responsibility. Positive truths guide and push leaders to discover and embrace their purpose in business and life.