15 Top Leadership Tips from the Deliberate Leaders Podcast

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Tip #1: Be Transparent

Become transparent, visible and vocal.

When I say transparent, we are really looking for leaders who tell it like it is, not who make up some kind of story.

We want leaders who are honest with us.

One of the things that happens when we are faced with crisis is it rips away the mask, and it lets people know who you really are.

Eileen McDargh, author of Your Resiliency GPS and Burnout to Breakthrough

Tip #2: Work With Smart People

Surround yourself with people smarter than you.

One of the worst enemies of any leader is success.

As soon as you see yourself on the magazine cover, you suddenly think you must be a good leader. The truth is, you got there because of the people around you.

So surround yourself with people smarter than you. Then lead by service. Get out of their way, and take care of them.

Jeff Hoffman, Chairman of the Board of the Global Entrepreneurship Network

Tip #3: Earn Influence

Influence is earned.

In our fast paced, volatile world, we tend to rely on credentials and position authority.

Leaders we follow do big things.

Those leaders earn the right to influence us.

Craig Ross, author of Do Big Things

Tip #4: Be Intentional

A lot of very successful business leaders found their companies and have a great run. But they’re reacting to things – reacting to the market, reacting to customer needs, reacting to opportunities.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t be incredibly successful.

But it’s still reacting and being opportunistic.

At some point, we’re going to talk about exit. At some point, you have to define your desired outcomes.

And you’ll have to make some choices, sometimes hard choices.

Patrick Ungashick, author of Dance in the End Zone

Tip #5: Thank People

Thank people when they do a good job.

I don’t care what you’re paying them. I don’t care how long they’ve worked for you.

If someone does a good job, thank them.

All the top motivators don’t cost anything.

Dr. Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Your Employees

Tip #6: Listen Actively

Listening is underrated. And not just hearing what people say, but focusing on understanding better.

As a therapist, my goal is to listen to people but also to teach them how to become more active listeners.

The world would be a better place if we all worked on listening more than we speak.

Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Do

Tip #7: Be Present

Your followers want you to be present more than they need you to be perfect.

So many leaders think they need to know everything and constantly give advice.

Many times, your followers need to be heard. They need to feel valued.

It’s important how you make them feel.

Respect people if you want to engage them in an important conversation.

Marcia Reynolds, author of Coach the Person, Not the Problem

Tip #8: Be Congruent

Congruency – what does that mean?

Oftentimes we give our people direction, or we set rules or policies. Even little things like, “Hey, you should be on time for meetings.”

Yet sometimes leaders aren’t congruent. We have a “get out of jail free” card because of our title.

People listen to what you say. But they’re also going to watch what you do.

You should model what you want everyone else to be doing.

Dave Mattson, co-author of The Sandler Rules

Tip #9: Collaborate

My mother said to me, “Son, I love you, but you’re a bull in a china shop. You just knock people over.”

She gave me this paperweight 50 years ago. It’s on my desk right here. It says: “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.”

This is about collaboration, not manipulation.

If you want to be a leader, you have to learn how to work with people and not knock them over.

Ivan Misner, founder of BNI

Tip #10: Develop More Leaders

The #1 role of a leader is to develop more leaders.

In my life and my businesses, I found that when I started to really embrace that and stop being the “yes” guy, and the “answer” guy and the “ego” guy, and I worked on developing other leaders – wow!

Not only was my company running better, but everybody in the company was more energized and having fun hitting their goals.

Scott Fritz, author of The 40 Hour Work Year

Tip #11: Be Genuine

You can be very genuine when you  have confidence in yourself, you’ve done your homework, and you know what you’re doing.

When you do that, you can be much more effective.

The worst kind of leader is somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing but they transmit that they do. People just smell it.

Stay away from that.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t try to lead. Instead, listen.

Patrick McGinnis, author of Fear of Missing Out

Tip #12: Be Your Honest Self

The best way to connect with people is to show up fully as yourself and be honest and true about that.

It gives other people permission to be themselves. That that deepens the connection that we have with our people in ways that allow us to take them places they otherwise wouldn’t trust us to go.

Jeff Goins, author of The Art of Work

Tip #13: Work on Yourself

Jim Rohn said work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work on your job, you’ll make money. If you work hard on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.

It led me to take up personal development. Not just focusing on making a return or getting something for the business, but really focusing on you.

Skip Prichard, author of The Book of Mistakes

Tip #14: Leave Biases Behind

The most important thing that a leader can do is to leave their biases behind and focus on empathy as they lead forward.

Confirmation bias is where people seek out information and sources that reaffirm their own beliefs and their perception of things.

When we’re dealing with uncertainty and change, and we’re navigating markets and how we develop better connections with customers, we need to let those biases go.

One of the most powerful tools we have to remove bias is to practice empathy. Step into the shoes of your customers and your employees. Looking at an issue through their lens will help you make better decisions.

Jonathon Hensley, CEO of Emerge Interactive

Tip #15: Build Trust

Build trust – with your team, your customers, your community, your industry.

Trust is the most critical factor of the success of any leader and any business.

Any pain points within an organization – whether it be leadership, sales, marketing, employee retention, innovation – can all be improved with increased trust.

Too often, I hear that a business thinks they have a leadership issue, but it is a trust issue. Or you think you have a sales issue or profit issue or stress issue, and these are all lack-of-trust issues.

Trust is a leading indicator to leadership success. Lack of trust is actually the largest expense of any organization.

Leadership, and frankly business success, starts with trust.

Allison Dunn, CEO of Deliberate Directions


Deliberate Directions develops leaders who can engage and inspire their teams.

We help clients develop a deliberate set of leadership practices. These practices help them:

  • process decisions
  • remove roadblocks
  • gain confidence
  • impact others
  • navigate change, and
  • perform more effectively.

We would love to help you or the leaders in your organization. Schedule a free strategy session to take your teams to the next level.

I'm Allison Dunn,

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