Unusually Excellent | John Hamm

Summary of: Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership
By: John Hamm


In ‘Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership,’ John Hamm delves into the nuances of leadership and presents nine skills that are vital for being a successful leader. These nine skills encompass three key qualities – being credible, being competent, and being aware. The book explores ideas and examples to help you become authentic, trustworthy, inspiring, strategic, and able to execute effectively. It highlights the importance of communication, decision-making, and understanding the far-reaching consequences of your actions. Embark on a journey to transform your leadership and create a positive impact on your organization and employees.

Essential Skills of Credible Leaders

Credible leaders possess three fundamental skills that define their authenticity, trustworthiness, and overall persuasiveness. These skills serve as the foundation for their credibility and leadership capabilities.

Authenticity Breeds Trust

The key to being an effective leader lies in being authentic and trustworthy. People follow those who are comfortable in their own skin, especially in tough times. Learning to be yourself is lifelong work, but it pays off in the end. CEO Jim Wilson’s simple act of serving coffee and pastries to every employee in every branch’s office earned him deep loyalty and trust. Therefore, be true to yourself in all circumstances, and operate accordingly. Don’t forget to listen to yourself, reflect on your deepest thoughts, feelings, and intuitions. Because there is nothing more important than a leader’s trustworthiness.

Trustworthy Leadership

Trusting a leader is more important than their creativity or intelligence. A trustworthy leader gains respect and makes it easier for employees to trust them, while dishonest leaders will never be trusted. To establish trust, leaders must keep their promises, treat everyone fairly, and embrace honesty in their interactions. Trust can be lost in an instant, making its regaining almost impossible. Leaders who prioritize trust create a culture of truth, where employees feel secure and confident in their work.

The Power of Visionary Leadership

Genuine leaders deserve respect, but adding vision to leadership enhances followers’ willingness to follow wholeheartedly. Visionary leaders are actively involved in the journey to achieve their team’s goals. Great leaders realize that employees are willing participants and must be inspired and connected to the cause. By enabling and empowering their followers, these leaders create an atmosphere of enthusiasm, making accomplishments possible. The message is simple, connect, and collaborate, and great things can happen.

The Three Essential Skills of Competent Leaders

Competent leaders require three essential skills, which allow them to excel in handling people, strategy, and execution. Credibility is necessary to get leaders into the game, but skill keeps them there and drives their success in managing these three areas. Effective leadership is anchored in competence, which means having the necessary skills to manage the demands of people, strategy, and execution. A competent leader knows how to balance these areas, ensuring efficiency, effectiveness, and growth.

Unleash the Power of Top Talent

Exceptional leaders understand that the quality of their team is paramount to success. They recruit top talent – people who share the values, culture, and work ethic of the company, and blend new and long-standing employees into a single, high-performing unit. They hire individuals smarter than themselves and trust them to help develop thoughtful plans and strategies. Being an outstanding leader means earning credibility through character, which involves being responsible for optimally staffing the organization. To leverage the strengths of the team, leaders offer more authority to team members and shed poor performers who demotivate the team. By doing so, engaged, empowered, and energized employees work hard with high expectations of great outcomes.

Crafting Effective Strategies

True leadership involves more than just planning as it entails strategy, which requires careful consideration of the people who will execute your plans successfully. A great strategy must be planned on both short and long-term levels. As a leader, you should keep things simple as complex proposals confuse those beneath you. It is crucial to remain engaged throughout the planning process, and it helps to encourage employees to take responsibility for their tactics. Finally, ensure that you have sufficient resources before executing any program.

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