The world is full of people who call themselves leaders, but woefully short of Extreme Leaders. Perhaps you think that’s OK. Extreme Leaders, you might reason, are only needed for extreme circumstances – a soldier taking fellow troops into battle, a Sherpa guiding climbers up Mount Everest, or a quarterback directing a potential game-winning drive in the Super Bowl. Everyday life, you might say, requires only everyday leaders.
But here’s the reality: Everyday leaders who aren’t also Extreme Leaders aren’t taking anyone anywhere worth going. They risk very little and gain very little. Soon the only reason anyone follows them is out of the obligation that comes with a paycheck.
Extreme Leaders, meanwhile, love their work and the people associated with it so much that they embrace and inspire audacious decisions. They attack their work with a contagious energy. And they display an unwavering commitment to get things done. In other words, they willingly put themselves on the line to change their world for the better.
That’s leadership worth following. And you don’t have to be a soldier, a Sherpa, or an NFL quarterback to be an Extreme Leader. You just have to lead with Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof – otherwise known as LEAP.
Interested? Here are a few ways to LEAP immediately into Extreme Leadership:
Cultivate Love – Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.
Extreme Leaders find ways to genuinely love their work and every individual who touches their business. Then they act from that level of motivation. Thus, they pay nearly obsessive attention to the needs, desires, hopes, and aspirations of their customers and co-workers. So here’s the go-do: Identify at least two people who love what you do, one inside your organization (e.g., a co-worker) and one outside (e.g., a client). Tell each of them why you love your work and provide a specific way you plan to serve their needs over the next 60 days.
Generate Energy – Generate more energy when you walk into a room than when you walk out.
You don’t have to watch TV or movies to see zombies in action. Just walk through the typical office in corporate America. But not yours, because you aspire to Extreme Leadership. A couple of ways you can generate energy include passionately sharing a purposeful vision with others and actively expressing gratitude to others. So pick out five people in your work atmosphere and do at least one of those two things for them in the next 24 hours.
Inspire Audacity – Make a connection between the work you do and its potential impact on the entire world.
Extreme Leaders demonstrate a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints. Not in an impudent manner, but in a courageous I-want-to-change-the-world way. In three sentences or less, explain how you plan to change the world through your work.
Provide Proof – Prove yourself through significant, observable, daily actions.
It’s easy to talk a good game, but Extreme Leaders back up their talk with their behaviors. Write down three ways you are “proving” that you love your work, team and/or customers; three ways the people around you see your energy; and three audacious things you are doing to change the world.
Extreme Leaders put their skin in the game and make a difference in the world, no matter what the environment. Nothing is too mundane or too routine that it can’t become part of something bigger and better. So don’t be content with everyday leadership and everyday results.