We’ve all read about the key attributes required to be a successful leader.  You’ve seen them…they typically focus on things like character, vision, communication, toughness, and life-long learning.

OK, fair enough.  That’s the “who you are” side of the leader ledger.

Let’s assume those attributes must be in place just to get the leadership reins.  After that, what are the next essentials of effective leadership?

After 25 years as a CEO Leader, I’ve concluded that the next test for leaders is how they put those leadership attributes into play—every day.  I call it their Leadership Strategy, the “what they do” component in the equation.  This is a leader’s strategy to lead—not the organization’s strategy—and it’s what separates effective from pedestrian leaders.

A Leader’s  “Strategy To Lead”

Here’s what my list would look like if I had to choose the Top 10 Actions of a successful leader:

  1. Flex and adjust “on the fly” in the middle of action.
  2. Grip a vision tight but never fight the last war.
  3. Manage the timing of distress and dislocation.
  4. Disturb organizational balance only when people can deal with the consequences.
  5. Create “Projecteers” who are accountable for their performance and results.
  6. Force every program and activity to be supported by a Strategic Imperative—what must be done.
  7. Continually communicate inspirational context for the organization
  8. Regulate disequilibrium to keep everyone in a productive discomfort zone.
  9. Run everything through the “Why” and “To What End?” Test.
  10. Interrupt “off-course diversions” immediately and hard.

Picture yourself doing these things in your organizational or career context.  Give it a shot.  What if you really did these things–what would happen?