Skip to content

10 Ways World Class Leaders CAN Be Made

February 23, 2012

What is a world class leader? Do you know one?
One of the biggest fallacies out there is that brilliant leaders are born not made! This is bogus.

The truth is that world class leaders- those you want to follow- those that are heroic have been shaped to become who they are. In my seventeen years as a consultant I have worked with leaders who have gone from stress to success, adequate results to stellar outcomes and from minimal employee engagement to complete project immersion.

A heroic leader has simply learned the strategies and skills that create success consistently for themselves and their teams.

Here are the ten ways world class leaders can be made:

1. Adapt to their environment- Steve Jobs had a bad reputation as a non personal leader BUT no one can deny his results. What Steve Jobs did to extremely well is to adapt to his environment. He created the vision of ‘simplifying technology’ and that was his focus. He expected everyone to stay focused on that vision. He inspired by his vision and his results.

2. Dismiss the game players- Heroic leaders do not indulge or give time to people who insist on blaming, complaining or draining the people around them. They call people on their non productive behavior and they do it in a way that people get it. Recently I met with a potential consulting client who began blaming her assistant for an outcome- I immediately pointed out that blaming is not a productive leadership practice. She got it and I got the contract.

3. Focus on the future and results- Leaders who focus on the ‘big’ tend to inspire action from their teams. Leaders set the tone of behavior and every leader is a reflection of his or her team. If your team is focused on the past and how things used to be its time for you to look at your leading attitudes every day. Shift to future and results, shift all discussions to future and results and watch productivity and profits soar.

4. Share what you know freely- Recently I worked with a client in the logistics and transportation industry and the CEO was reluctant to blog. He that it was a waste of time and that no one would read it. I suggested that if the focus of the blog was on ‘information sharing’ of what he knew about the industry, the company and the future that people would definitely read it and it would set a company culture tone of ‘sharing what we know’. Old school leaders feel that they must hang on to what they know- the reverse is true. You MUST share what you know freely.

5. Give compliments daily- World class leaders have an air of confidence and self assurance- people want to be around them. When you are confident and self assured you freely and generously give compliments to people on a regular basis. The leaders who consistently look for the good in people find that people do good when they are told they are doing good. A small compliment can go a long way in making someones day. Heroic leaders do this as a practice.

6. Learn like you know nothing- False humility is not appealing – an authentic willingness to acknowledge that you do not know everything and that you are constantly striving to learn is inspiring. My coach models what he asks his clients to do, he reads voraciously, he is on top of world news, and he constantly strives to learn even though he is highly accomplished. Take a course, do something different and once a quarter do something radical. I bungee jumped last September- completely shifted my personal worldview and that of those who know me.

7. Have an accountability partner- World class leaders are active participants in Mastermind groups or forums. If you do not have an accountability partner in your circle it might be time to hire a consultant or coach. I have a peer accountability partner but I also have a coach. I find that it is easier to be accountable when I am paying for it. I give it high value and therefore I stay committed to my goals and promises that I make to myself and to my team.

8. Get rid of the distractions- World class leaders are focused- highly focused on people and outcomes. Distractions are the enemy of world class leadership. I confess I am a Words With Friends fan and for a while I was checking my games throughout the day. I realized it was a huge distraction and now I only play twice a day early morning before I start and end of day when I am done with my work. When working on a project I turn my IPhone on to silent so I won’t be distracted by texts or phone calls or emails.

9. Fill the tank- What give you energy? What gets you revved up for the day? World class leaders incorporate their well being into their days. I know have daily practices that help me be at the top of my game. Meditation, exercise and eating right all help me to stay sharp and to maintain that confidence. Many leaders burn out and lose their edge because they are not treating themselves well. You must fill the tank- otherwise you are running on empty.

10. Be world class in your personal life- World class leaders are authentic in every aspect of their life. They treat their significant others and their families with the same care and respect if not more than their peers and employees. They do not get caught up in behaving a certain way for work (their game face) and then act completely different when in front of those who love them the most. A heroic leader is an integrated leader- they give every area of their life careful attention.


So there you have it- leaders are like diamonds they can be shaped and they can share their brilliance in a way that makes major impacts on their local environments. Being a leader is like being a wave- your influence ripples out and touches many other waves.

To find out more about how you and your team can model emulate these traits please contact me

Cheryl’s newsletter

The latest insights on the future of all things delivered straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.