7 Things Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

7 Things Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

What makes some people stand out of the ordinary crowd as awesome leaders?

Why do these people live wonderful lives, while the rest just drag themselves from day to day?

7 Things Outstanding Leaders Do Differently

Great leaders shape history. Average people just get by. Greatness, however,  is simply a set of different behaviors and habits. You too can become great if you adopt them. Here’s what outstanding leaders do differently and how you can start implementing these habits into your own life.

1. They have a vision for their future

Outstanding leaders are the captains of their own boat called life. They know that the boat is following their directions and they take on the responsibility for giving those directions. They are the ones shaping the future by having a clear vision and taking 100% responsibility for whatever happens to them.

A man without a vision is like a boat without a destination. It just sails adrift in the middle of the ocean, being at the mercy of tides and waves.

All great leaders have a vision and they pursue that vision with tremendous passion. They know exactly what they want, so they are able to get others to follow them towards their desired outcome.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18

2. They stay true to themselves above anything else

Outstanding leaders follow their own inner guidance whenever faced with a decision. They know what’s best for them and they will do whatever they think it’s right, even in the face of adversity.

They speak their truth and they act according to what they feel to be true, even with the risk of offending others. Outstanding leaders are authentic and congruent. That’s how they gain other people’s trust so easily. They aren’t afraid to expose themselves just as they are – with both strengths and weaknesses.

They admit they are human and can make mistakes. They cherish their imperfection and use it as an asset. Above all, they value their individuality and aren’t afraid to show it, even to those who disagree.

Outstanding leaders stay true to themselves, even if others demand compliance. They know they are the only person worth appealing. They have a very strong inner validation system that guides them, so they don’t need the approval of others.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” ~ Jack Welch

3. They persevere in the face of obstacles

One of the most important traits of outstanding leaders is their ability to slide over setbacks and rejections. Many outstanding leaders have faced rejections before they managed to get their ideas through. Nonetheless, they persevered and succeeded.

What got them to success was their mindset. They viewed obstacles as challenges and growth opportunities, not as indicators to quit. Instead of stopping them, obstacles had the exact opposite effect: they made them even more determined to succeed and to prove they were right and others were wrong.

Great leaders don’t focus on problems and rejections. Instead, they focus on solutions and what they can learn and do better next time. They don’t take setbacks personally. They know that they are right – their internal validation system tells them that – and they do everything needed to convince the world of that fact.

4. They act with courage despite having fear

Outstanding leaders are admired for their courage. Many people who have displayed great courage have remained in history as heroes.

But what made these people different wasn’t their lack of fear. On the contrary. They felt fear just like any other human being. What set them apart was their ability to feel that fear and act despite having it.

Outstanding people have the same fears, doubts, inner conflicts and mixed emotions like everyone. But they have learned to follow their vision, no matter what they feel. They know they’re taking action for a bigger cause and that vision inspires them to keep going even in the face of fear.

It’s not that they ignore their fear. In fact, they acknowledge it – since they admit their weaknesses and are comfortable with exposing vulnerability – but they do whatever is more important for them and they don’t allow fear to paralyze them to inaction. They use fear as a catalyst that propels them in the desired direction.

5. They anticipate obstacles and find solutions

Outstanding leaders have a plan. They don’t just jump into things unprepared. They carve out a path towards their goal. Furthermore, they attempt to predict what can go wrong on their path, so that they can be prepared for any situation.

But they don’t start thinking of all the things that can work out badly and find ways to counter them. It would consume too much energy and time. Besides, one can think of a million reasons why things could go wrong. That’s not the purpose.

Outstanding leaders have learned to use their common sense and anticipate challenges. They do that by observing how things work and relate to another. They have a realistic view and avoid over- or underestimating their current circumstances. They don’t get too excited, nor do they become paranoid. They succeed in looking at circumstances, situations, and people and seeing them just as they are.

Their ability to think clearly and not be limited by beliefs allows them to accurately anticipate obstacles and find solutions in advance.

6. They spend time on things which matter most

Outstanding leaders are very efficient. And they have the exact same 24 hours per day like everyone else does. The difference is in their ability to manage time.

Outstanding leaders spend the most time on those activities which matter to them and bring them greatest fulfillment. Since they have a vision with a plan, they know exactly what to do to make it a reality. So they invest energy in making things happen and in creating a meaningful life.

On the flip side, average people spend time in activities which distract their attention and don’t bring them any long-term gains. They just seek instant gratification and pleasure as much as possible.

Outstanding leaders will often sacrifice short-term pleasure for long term gain because they know that’s where real happiness comes from. They have learned to delay their gratification while keeping an eye on the vision and taking massive action which brings them closer to living their dreams.

“Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” ~ Tom Peters

7. They are constantly improving

Outstanding leaders don’t settle for what they have. They seek to constantly expand themselves, they are continuously learning new skills and developing their abilities. Outstanding leaders are perpetual students and they never get tired of learning.

They also never stop dreaming and setting goals for themselves. They have a permanent vision of how their ideal life looks like and they are always updating this image, as soon as they get close to reaching it.

Outstanding leaders set very high standards for themselves. Whenever they’re close to reaching their goals, they set new ones, so they can keep moving further and further. They are expanding and growing and constantly seeking new challenges to face and new ways to push their comfort zone.

Unlike average people who settle for comfort, outstanding leaders embrace challenges, because they know these are the prerequisites for lasting growth and satisfaction.

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” ~ Harvey Firestone

Your turn

Take one step at a time and make these changes permanent in your life. What will you do starting today to become an outstanding leader? I really want to know what are your thoughts on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below :)


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‘New Era’ of Type 2 Diabetes Treatment as LEADER Unveiled?

Details of the Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes: Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcome Results—A Long Term Evaluation (LEADER) trial of the glucose-lowering drug liraglutide (Victoza, Novo Nordisk), showing that it significantly reduced the rates of major adverse cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetes patients at elevated cardiovascular risk, were reported today.

The study is the second such mandated FDA cardiovascular safety study for a diabetes drug to show cardiovascular benefit, rather than just lack of harm, on top of standard therapy in type 2 diabetes patients at high cardiovascular risk after the EMPA-REG trial, and the first with an agent from the glucagonlike peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist class. Results of a previous trial with another GLP-1 agonist, ELIXA, were neutral.

Experts here said that LEADER and EMPA-REG may now begin to change the landscape of diabetes therapy, giving doctors a somewhat clearer choice when deciding which drug to use second line after metformin in type 2 diabetes.

The results from the multicenter, international study were presented June 13, 2016 here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2016 Scientific Sessions and were published online simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Steven P Marso, MD, of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and colleagues.

LEADER began in 2010 and followed 9340 high-risk adults with type 2 diabetes for 3.5 to 5 years, who were randomly assigned to receive either a subcutaneous injection of liraglutide 1.8 mg once daily (or the maximum tolerated dose) or placebo along with standard treatment.

The primary end point was the first occurrence of the three-point major adverse cardiac event (MACE) components: cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), or nonfatal stroke.

The degree of risk reduction for MACE was 13% (occurring in 608 of 4668 patients taking liraglutide) vs 14.9% (in 694 of 4672 taking placebo) (P = .01 for superiority), including a 22% lower rate of cardiovascular death (4.7 vs 6.0%, P = .007), Dr Marso reported in a press briefing held at the ADA meeting in advance of a special 2-hour symposium devoted to the findings.

The number of patients who would be needed to treat to prevent one event in 3 years was 66 for the MACE composite and 98 for death from any cause.

Liraglutide also reduced HbA1c, body weight, and hypoglycemia, and its safety profile was similar to what has been seen in previous trials, with gastrointestinal adverse events and increases in heart rate being the most common.

New Trials Inform Clinical Choice of Second Drug for Type 2 Diabetes

Coming on the heels of the cardiovascular benefit seen for the sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor empagliflozin (Jardiance, Boehringer Ingelheim/Lilly) in the EMPA-REG trial, the LEADER findings have experts talking about a “new era” in the management of type 2 diabetes.
While most agree that metformin remains the first-line drug of choice, these new landmark study data are starting to better inform the clinical choice of second drug based on characteristics beyond their glucose-lowering capacity, speakers said during the press briefing.

“In type 2 diabetes, most of us agree that under most circumstances metformin is the drug of choice,” briefing moderator Robert H Eckel, MD, of the University of Colorado, Denver, said, noting that additional potential cardiovascular and also anticancer benefits have been seen with that drug as well.

However, he said, “It’s interesting, with LEADER the benefit for cardiovascular death is very similar to what statins do. I think with validation, it could potentially change practice….I’d like to see second and third trials for both [liraglutide and empagliflozin]. Keep in mind there are 25 or 30 trials for statins showing benefit,” said Dr Eckel, who was not involved in LEADER or EMPA-REG.

Senior investigator of LEADER, John Buse, MD, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, added: “I think this changes the conversation with patients. Now, instead of just saying we’re giving you this drug to manage your hyperglycemia in diabetes, [we can say] this drug also has the potential to modify your risk for cardiovascular disease and death.

“It was beyond our expectations that we would be able to demonstrate cardiovascular efficacy,” he told the press briefing.

Asked to comment, Simon Heller, MD, professor of clinical diabetes, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, toldMedscape Medical News, “I think we are in a different era now. People die from hypoglycemia, whether by insulin or sulfonylureas. We shouldn’t forget that.

“These drugs [liraglutide and empagliflozin] don’t cause hypoglycemia and have other effects that may be beneficial. I agree absolutely we need to confirm with other studies, but I think we’re definitely going to see a shift toward modern therapies.”

Benefits Seen for Multiple Cardiovascular End Points

The LEADER trial included patients with type 2 diabetes who had HbA1c levels of 7.0% or higher. Entry criteria were either age 50 and above with established cardiovascular disease or chronic renal failure or age 60 and older with CVD risk factors.

Dr Robert H Eckel on podium; left to right, Drs Simon Heller, John Buse, Steven P Marso, and Bernard Zinman

Patients could be drug-naive or taking oral agents or basal insulin but not other GLP-1 agonists or DPP-4 inhibitors, pramlintide, or rapid-acting insulin. In both treatment and placebo groups, current standards of care were targeted for HbA1c, blood pressure, lipids, and antiplatelet therapy.

Subjects had a mean baseline age of 64 years, diabetes duration 13 years, and HbA1c 8.7%.

At 36 months’ postrandomization, HbA1c levels were 0.40 percentage points lower in the liraglutide group, a significant difference (P < .001). Body weight also dropped significantly, by 2.3 kg (P < .001).

Overall, results for each of the components of the composite primary MACE outcome were in favor of liraglutide, with a 22% reduction in cardiovascular death (4.7% vs 6.0%, P = .007), which was significant, and a nonsignificant 12% reduction in nonfatal MI (6.0% vs 6.8%, P = .11) and an 11% lower rate of nonfatal stroke (3.4% vs 3.8%, P = .30).

Also significant were a 15% reduction in all-cause death (8.2% vs 9.6%, P = .02) and an expanded composite CV outcome that included coronary revascularization, unstable angina, or hospitalization for heart failure (20.3% vs 22.7%, P = .005).

Hospitalization for heart failure itself was 13% less frequent in the liraglutide group (4.7% vs 5.3%, P = .14). Although not statistically significant in terms of benefit, the lack of any signal for concern with regard to heart failure is noteworthy, Dr Marso said. “There has been a lot of discussion in the incretin space about whether agents such as SGLT2 inhibitors, DPP-4 inhibitors, or GLP-1 receptor agonists are neutral, hazardous, or beneficial for heart failure.”

He added: “What’s striking is the consistency in the relative risk reduction in all of the major cardiovascular end points that we measured in LEADER.”

The prespecified primary microvascular outcome in LEADER was a composite of nephropathy and retinopathy outcomes, and there was a benefit with liraglutide over placebo: time to first renal event was 22% longer with liraglutide, a significant difference. However, this latter effect drove the benefit, as there was no significant difference in retinopathy events between the two groups.

Safety Profile Shows No Signals

Overall adverse events occurred in two-thirds of both treatment groups and were not significantly different (= .12). Serious adverse events occurred in 50% of both groups and severe events in a third of both (P = .51).

Adjudicated cases of acute pancreatitis occurred in 0.4% of patients taking liraglutide compared with 0.5% on placebo (P = .44). There were two cases of chronic pancreatitis, both in the placebo group.

However, acute gallstone disease was more common with liraglutide, 3.1% vs 1.9% (P < .001).

Hypoglycemia was more common in the placebo group, both with overall confirmed cases of blood glucose levels below 56 mg/dL (43.7% with liraglutide vs 45.6% with placebo, P < .001) and in severe hypoglycemia requiring assistance (2.4% vs 3.3%, P = .016). The likely reason for this, Dr Eckel noted, is that the placebo patients may have been treated more intensively with insulin in attempt to achieve HbA1c targets.

Neoplasms were not different between the groups except for a 46% reduction in prostate cancer (0.9% vs 1.6%) and a lower rate of leukemias (0.1% vs 0.3%) in the liraglutide group.

There was a numeric increase in the number of pancreatic-cancer cases with liraglutide (13 vs five) for a higher rate of pancreatic cancer in the liraglutide group (0.3% vs 0.1%), but four more cases were identified on imaging in the placebo group that did not have pathology to establish the diagnosis, so the two groups were not significantly different, Dr Buse noted.

Everything Changing Modestly, but in the Right Direction

Dr Eckel said that the results of LEADER follow in the same vein as those of EMPA-REG.

“In EMPA-REG, many things related to CVD risk were modified in a modest but favorable way. LEADER gives a hint of the same kind of modification.…Everything is kind of changing modestly in the right direction.”

But the LEADER investigators note some differences in how the drugs may be working.

“The pattern of cardiovascular benefits that were associated with liraglutide in our trial appears to differ from that with the SGLT-2 inhibitor empagliflozin in the previously reported EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial.”

The time to benefit emerged earlier in EMPA-REG than in LEADER, they note, and the variability of the direction and magnitude of the effects on the components of the composite primary outcome in that trial “contrasts with the consistency of effect in the present trial.”

The observed benefits in EMPA-REG “may be more closely linked to hemodynamic changes, whereas in the present trial, the observed benefits are perhaps related to the modified progression of atherosclerotic vascular disease,” they conclude.