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3 Shifts Great Leaders Make to Become Extraordinary

How do you move into the extraordinary?

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There's so much work out there on getting leaders to be great, but not much on what happens once you're great. For high achievers that have become great leaders, what next for them? 

It is possible to start in leadership at one level and evolve, moving from being a good leader to a great leader to extraordinary. Each level becomes the new normal, but that evolution doesn't stop. 

There's no cap on growth. There's no cap on potential. Only a commitment to progress, a commitment to growth and a commitment to showing up as the best version of you every day. And if you have new tools and new gifts and new strengths to tap into, then it keeps going. 

Leadership and managing people aren't natural skills for most people. But it's all teachable.

Shift 1: How leaders spark brilliance

The problem, according to Harvard Business Review advisory Jackie Insinger, is that “the leader must decipher too much information to take action and engage the team to transform into a more collaborative, meaningful, effective, high performing culture. When this happens it's a virtuous cycle and the results come right back to the organization.”

Related: The Best Leadership Advice We Heard in 2021

Shift 2: Creating emotional contagion

Grounded in science and research, Insinger states that to light the spark in all members of a team, we have to consider emotional contagion. 

Emotional contagion is where a person mirrors the mood, the impact, the behaviors of people around us. A leader has increasingly more impact or contagion than other people on the team. So influence matters, and you can choose to influence in a way of sparking brilliance in yourself and those around you. The more influence you have, the more emotional contagion you create.

Imagine walking into a board meeting, a team meeting or a family gathering and somebody walks in grumpy, stressed or angry — it infiltrates into everybody's mood. But we can also take on positive emotions. So becoming an extraordinary leader starts at the top and prioritizing a very comfortable, safe environment for employees to know that they are protected by the entire leadership team. In this environment, they can forge a collective idea and vision.

That collaborative intention creates a whole shift. So we have to be very intentional about how we show up because it breeds and disseminates throughout the whole organization. Keeping people happy, fulfilled, valued and connected to their organization and purpose in the organization starts at the top.

Related: 5 Leadership Trends to Embrace Now to Prepare for 2022

Shift 3: Creating team dynamics

Team dynamics are more important right now than ever in this new way of working. Teams were forced into their own silos in 2020 and beyond, so working remotely and creating the connection is much harder. 

To combat this phenomenon, recognize that magic happens in the moments, not in the meetings. It has to be intentional. And that's why this work of honoring and prioritizing team dynamics is so much more important now than ever. 

So team dynamics are essential. People are messy, relationships are messy — it's just how we are. Eliminating some of that mess comes by creating that authentic connection through very specific action steps.

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