History has not been kind to leaders. Many we that we might claim to be successful (outside the context of our morals) were autocratic and aggressive: Lenin, Alexander the Great, Mao Tse Tung. And often the rewards of leadership are severe such as in the case of Ghandi, JFK or Lincoln.
So if we cannot look to history what does the modern leader look like?
For one, they should always themselves and their organization be looking toward the future. First and foremost, the leader needs to realize his role is never permanent. Look at the UK Football Champion ship s an example, managers often last less than a year one a single team.
A good leader is always building a succession of talent—really a leader’s job is to prepare the path forward and teach those who will one day lead.
But this isn’t just planning for the future. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, surround yourself with smart people and let them tell you what to do. Recognize these people and allow them to move the organization forward while you facilitate their talent.
These smart people need the infrastructure provided by the organization and the ability of the leader to bring each expert together to solve problems and get projects done. They should see that current leadership is preparing future roles for them.
No good leader is stagnant in their ways and such a leader cannot expect their subordinates to grow if they themselves are not willing to grow. Whether it is quarterly, at the half year or annually leaders and anyone wanting to change themselves for the better can work on the follow list of To-Do’s for self-betterment.
Find some new role models to focus during the next cycle. These role models could somehow represent other goals in your list or the could be just be new faces who share your values. It is important to take on unfamiliar perspectives to expand our ability to understand all different kinds of people.
Decide on two good habits you want to develop. Also, choose one bad habit you want to rid yourself of. Let go of that which isn’t useful or productive and nurture your best self. Find happy mediums and moderation. Come up with one month’s worth of plans for activities that will help you normalize the good, new habits and break the bad ones. Small, but deliberate actions will help reach your habit changing goals.
No matter your time line for everything else, choose one new subject area you would like to learn about over the next year. Set reasonable goal to reach and out line the learning process as you imagine it. By always learning we make ourselves more complex and interesting as well as opening ourselves to new ways of thinking.
Make a list of new books you’ll read. Again, it is helpful to be realistic in your planning. You might choose titles that have something to do with you habit changing goals or your learning of a new subject if your plans are feeling a little overwhelming.
Keep it simple. Keep it realistic. Stick to your plan. Become a more interesting person.