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Great Leaders Are Interesting – Are YOU?

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Great Leaders Are Interesting – Are YOU?

Let’s face it – the best leaders have always grabbed our attention and piqued our imagination. They have a way of captivating, fascinating and intriguing us. It’s the interesting people with whom we want to engage, as they’re the ones who inspire and motivate us to be better and do more. The simple truth is few of us desire to be led by those whom we don’t find interesting. So my question is this: great leaders are interesting – are you? In the text that follows I’ll share my thoughts on how anyone can become more interesting.

Most people I know think of themselves as being interesting people. That’s all well and good, but the real litmus test is whether or not others find you interesting. Are others desirous of having you be part of their inner circle, or do you constantly find yourself on the outside looking in? Do people seek you out for advice and counsel, or do they ignore you and just simply tolerate your presence? The real question is, do people hunger to be led by you?

While many find themselves in a position of leadership, few understand their role as a leader, and regrettably, fewer yet actually lead. These struggling leaders attempt to control people by imposing their will on others (not interesting), as opposed to attracting those who desire to be a part of their team and then creating an environment which frees them to innovate (very interesting).

It’s a very noisy world, and with more and more people adding to the chatter each and every day, it has become quite difficult to stand above the noise and be heard — this is particularly true if you bore people. Here’s the thing — you can have all the answers, but if people don’t want to hear them what good is all your brilliance? Perhaps the main benefit of being interesting is when you interest people they’ll seek you out — you won’t have to chase them down. When you do engage, they’ll listen.

These five items will help anyone become more interesting and, at the same time, will help you become a better leader.

  1. Be externally focused. You’ve heard me say it before: “Leadership isn’t about you, but what you can do for those whom you lead. It’s not about how much you can get out of your people, but rather how much leverage you can create FOR your people.” Leaders who are purposed about making those around them better will always be interesting and relevant. If you want to be interesting to others, be interested in others.
  2. Stay ahead of the curve. If what you offer (skills, knowledge, etc.) is dated, you simply won’t be interesting or effective. Interesting people are voracious learners and unlearners. They are passionate about both personal and professional development. Interesting people are in constant pursuit of betterment in all they do. They are intellectually, philosophically and emotionally curious. They’re rarely interested in best practices, but they are like heat-seeking missiles in search of next practices. You cannot be interesting if you’re not growing. You cannot lead a growing company (at least not for long) if you’re not growing as a leader.
  3. Add value. Think about the most interesting people you know and you’ll find they’re givers not takers. They add value to those they cross paths with. Interesting people aren’t just joiners, they’re contributors. If you want to be interesting, learn to add value in your roles, relationships, and interactions.
  4. Always leave them wanting more. A little mystique goes a long way to making you more interesting. Let me be clear — I’m not talking about playing games, but simply becoming astute in your interactions. Interesting people don’t conduct monologues — they participate in dialogues. You probably don’t like to be lectured, so what makes you think others want to be lectured by you? Interesting people spend far less time talking and much more time asking questions. If you want to be more interesting always leave them wanting more.
  5. More humility and less hubris. Think of humility as an attraction magnet and think of arrogance as a relationship repellent. The reality is people love authentic humility and they detest displays of arrogance. While you don’t have to be liked to be a leader, it certainly helps. Interesting people are slow to take credit, but quick to give it. Because interesting people rarely shine the light upon themselves, others are all too happy to make sure they receive the attention they so clearly deserve. If you want to be more interesting try exercising more humility.

There’s no denying it’s the interesting people we want have as friends, leaders, co-workers and associates. Smart leaders have long understood the key to relevance and influence is found in how interesting they are to others. Great leaders are not boring — are you?

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16 Comments

    Sami ATIG

    May 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Dear Mike,

    I’m afraid  I am boring, maybe you have a good suggestion?I need advises for a big change.

    Thinks,
    Sami

      Mike Myatt

      May 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      I doubt you’re boring, but if you think so others will begin to believe you. Read my last post on storytelling, and then find my post on unlearning. Best wishes Sami.

    Ron

    May 22, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Mike,

    One of my favorite writers, Soren Kierkegaard, made some very witty and amusing observations about boredom in ‘Either/Or’ — concluding that “Boredom is the root of all evil.”

    I can usually sense when I’m boring other people. It’s usually when I begin to take myself too seriously. Since I’ve amused myself in composing this comment, I can only hope I haven’t bored you or your readers:-)

    Ron

      Mike Myatt

      May 22, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Hi Ron:

      I’m never bored by amusing comments:) Thanks for adding to the conversation.

    Sara

    May 22, 2012 at 7:59 am

     It reminds me a quote,  dont know exact wording but it was somthing like this “A boss makes work drudgery but a Leader makes its interesting”

    Scott

    May 22, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Hey Mike!  Great reminder.  I also think it’s important to have interesting ideas.  Leaders rally people around an idea.  Pick an idea that means something to you and take the lead.

    Mary Jo Asmus

    May 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Mike, I think interesting people and great leaders are interested. A sense of curiosity about people and things can go a long way toward being more interested.

    Jagan Nemani

    May 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Great Leaders connect with every person at an emotional level. They understand what motivates each individual, and then use that understanding to channel the individuals energy to greater good of the organization. In return they promise to keep this individual motivated and growing for a long time.

    Lorii Abela

    May 24, 2012 at 8:35 am

    This is a great reminder, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

    Harsh Sharma

    May 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Mike
    “You cannot lead a growing company (at least not for long) if you’re not growing as a leader….” is the most profound statement in your write up.An eye opener to many leaders.

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