How Can We Be Better Leaders?

in Ambition for a Lifetime

“I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.” -Brené Brown

Whatever our profession or calling in life we each are leaders in our own right. How can we be a better leader at work, in our peer groups, or even in our families? My 20 years in education have afforded me the opportunity to work with many leaders not only at school, but also in the community. What I’ve discovered as a result is that regardless of one’s particular leadership style, a leader can always become better, if they set their mind to it.

Indeed, the difference between an average leader and one that many would consider exceptional is the willingness and dedication to improve. As the old saying suggests, all you have to do is TRY.

I recently read a book by Todd Whitaker called What Great Principals Do Differently.  Some of his most notable points can apply to any position of leadership and not just those in the school setting.

It’s people not programs.

  • We need to be sure to be attentive to people and not spend all of our time implementing programs.

How attentive are you?

  • Do you know personal information about co-workers? The more you know about the people you lead the better you can reach them.

Help other people to feel more confident.

  • When a person feels like they can they usually CAN!

Listen to the best.

  • Those who perform at a high level have your best interest in mind. They want to see their leader succeed.

Treat everyone as if they are good.

  • Starting request off with “can you please,” is better than “if you don’t…”

The best leaders ignore minor errors.

  • Focusing on the best in people and forgiving the little things creates a more positive environment.

Repair situations vs. escalating them.

  • Look for ways to solve problems!

“As a leader your job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.” -Richard Teerlink


Take this quiz to determine your leadership style. After getting your results, take time to share with a sister or colleague.

Dive Deeper

We often think that we have to be a boss to be considered a leader. There could not be anything further from the truth. Each of us are leaders because we help people. Click here to see ideas on how we can be leaders in our everyday lives.

Just remember that you do not have to be the CEO of a cooperation to be a leader.

Laura Dunlap is an alumna of Kappa Tau (Southeastern Louisiana U) and a member of the Education Committee.

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