8 Things Successful Leaders Do

MG Thinkers 50 Blog

September 28, 2015

by Marshall Goldsmith

Being successful as a leader can be hard. As demands on leaders increase, there is less time to focus on making the changes you need to make to do the job successfully. It’s a significant challenge to overcome because as more is expected of you, you find you have less time for development, and yet, improving your leadership skills is more important than ever.

You have to learn on the job, make the most of your surroundings, and ask those around you for help. You have to enlist their support as you do your best to develop yourself, your people, and your teams. And, this is why I call leadership a “contact sport”.

Leadership Is a Contact Sport is a leadership development model that has worked for hundreds of thousands of people. The original study, published in 2004, included 86,000 people. We now have research from 250,000 people who confirm that this model works. It helps them become highly successful leaders.

How does it work? The Leadership Is a Contact Sport model is just eight steps: Ask, Listen, Think, Thank, Respond, Involve, Change, Follow Up. Following is a short description of each step.

1. Ask: Ask people “How can I be a better _________ (manager, partner, team member, etc.)?

2. Listen: Listen to their answers.

3. Think: Think about their input. What does it mean?

4. Thank: Thank people for sharing this valuable feedback with you.

5. Respond: Respond positively when receiving input.

6. Involve: Involve the people around you to support your change efforts.

7. Change: Change isn’t an academic exercise. Act on what you learn.

8. Follow-up: Follow up regularly and stakeholders will notice the positive actions you’re taking based their input.

In this week’s video blog, I go through the entire process and detail each of these steps to explain how this process works and how you can use it yourself. If you’d like to read about the process and the research, please send me an email at Marshall@MarshallGoldsmith.com and I’ll send you the Leadership Is a Contact Sport article.

This simple model for leadership development works! If you want to get better, at work or at home, try it for yourself and see. And, if I can help you consider the possibility that despite all of your success to date you might have some things that you can change to be “even better”, then I will have done my job.