155: What Great Leaders Do That Average Leaders Don't


It’s easy to be a leader - the only thing you really need is someone to lead. It’s harder, however, to be a great leader. We’ve all been in the situation at one point or another where the person leading our team was phoning it in. When that happens, the mission suffers. Uninspired leadership leads to indifferent teams, but a great leader can inspire their team to rise above mediocrity and accomplish greatness. At MNTR, our aim is to help give you the skills you need to take your leadership from average to great.

Over the course of David Farmer’s career, he’s been fortunate to work for and alongside some great leaders. Along the way, he has been able to put together a list of what separates those leaders who stand out from the crowd. Today on the podcast, David talks to Kevin about those things that great leaders do that average leaders don’t.

Three Takeaways

Find Your Why

For Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, selling chicken was a means by which he could support his vision of helping out kids who had been put in a bad spot through no fault of their own. Over the course of his career, Truett and his wife Jeanette were able to open more than 10 foster homes around the southeastern United States. On the days when Truett didn’t wake up feeling like he wanted to sell chicken sandwiches, all he had to do was think of those children whose lives were being positively impacted by his mission. All great leaders know their ‘why.’ How we align our passions with our visions makes a lasting impact on the kind of leadership we grow into. Once you can establish what you’re working for, you’re far more likely to put your everything into it.

Be a Lifelong Learner

Former Chick-fil-A president Jimmy Collins famously read 100 books per year. Not content to use the information he already had to inform his future decisions, he made a commitment to continually consume knowledge in order to be the best leader possible. Chick-fil-A VP and bestselling author Mark Miller encourages those wanting to grow in their leadership to visit the bookstore, find a shelf on a topic you don’t know anything about, and start reading. Great leaders make a commitment from the beginning to never rest on their laurels. These days, there are a myriad of ways to consume information, from traditional books and conferences to podcasts and online seminars. Keeping your mind sharp will allow you to be the most effective and passionate leader you can be,

High Challenge, High Support

The best leaders know how to balance high challenge with high support. As a team member, you want a leader that you know is on your side - someone that is for you. As a leader, you want your team to know that you’re going to go to bat for them when the situation calls for it. That level of support is necessary in building a strong team dynamic. It also enables you to be high challenge when the situation calls for it. If your team knows that you are with them one hundred percent of the way, they will respond positively when you challenge them to push their way towards your goals. The balance of challenge and support is crucial, and great leaders understand that the only way either of them work is together.