5 Ways to Be An Exceptional Leader [Infographic]

Zenger and Folkman in their latest book “How to Be Exceptional ” writes what it takes to be exceptional. They provide a revolutionary approach to leadership development. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses and how to overcome them, they suggest focusing on your strengths – and learning how to magnify them.

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Organizations with best leaders have the following in common: Here’s  some key takeaways Shefali Dua shared based on some key insights from the book. Also, enjoy the infographic below which encapsulates the essence of the book!  

1. They select the right people as leaders.
2. Talent management processes have clear set of desirable leadership competencies.
3. Senior executives believe that a significant part the leader’s job is to develop their direct reports.
4. The bar for effective leadership is set high. The expectation was that the leaders needed to be outstanding, and not merely adequate or good, and that everyone, regardless of position or level in the organization, could improve.
5. They achieve great success in developing future executives by giving them demanding assignments. A favorite has been an overseas assignment in which an executive became a country manager and had all the functions of the business reporting to him or her.

Quotes from the book:
1. Leaders are made.
2. Fixing weaknesses never made anyone exceptional.
3. What made a leader great was the presence of strengths, not the absence of weaknesses.
4. Great leaders did a few things exceptionally well.
5. People see the best in one another when they share dreams and when they are connected.
6. There is no learning without action.

Key points to remember:
1. People with fatal flaws should to immediately take steps to fix them as addressing a fatal flaw can have a substantial positive impact on how these people are perceived.
2. Who is the best person to determine your effectiveness at dealing with others? Other people
3. Leaders with profound weaknesses would have direct reports with the same weaknesses. This phenomenon occurred more frequently than random chance would dictate, and we called it “the shadow of the leader.”
4. Real coaching is rare, but when the skill is mastered, it can have a substantial impact on the learning of others.
5. Because competencies are so highly interconnected, the fact that the individual is doing something has high odds of producing a favorable outcome.
6. If a leader receives feedback and makes an effort to improve, others will be impressed.
7. Informal and casual learning is a major source of knowledge and skill acquisition.
8. Formal and informal coaching received from your boss, peers, or external coach is an important source of development.


Question: How will you apply the five elements to become an exceptional leader?