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How these 12 smart leaders think

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A leader constantly plays a variety of different roles, which require a broadly consistent approach blended with situational subtleties.  It is these necessary nuances that I find most challenging and so reading how other leaders think and act enables me to adapt my own mantras.

I have selected the advice of 12 smart leaders taken from a broader list recently published in the Fast Company Leadership series. They most resonate with my own leadership tenets and how I would like to be.

1. ATTACH MEANING
“It’s much easier to work hard and put in the time when there is a constant reminder that our efforts are helping people succeed.” —Ryan Williams, co-founder and president, Jopwell

2. BE PERSONAL
“People are craving human interaction. That’s going to move the needle more than any technology you could ever dream up.” —Tina Sharkey, co-founder and CEO, Brandless

3. DON’T OVERTHINK IT
“I lead from the heart. If something touches my heart, then I speak on it. There is great power in being direct.” —Andy Cohen, host, Watch What Happens Live

4. KEEP THE FAITH
“Whatever is going on, your number-one responsibility is to have a mindset at work that says, ‘We can solve this.’ ” —David Miliband, president and CEO, International Rescue Committee

5. UNLEASH TALENT
“When people don’t have to compromise who they are in order to survive, then all energies are focused on the possibilities.” —Lisa Skeete Tatum, founder and CEO, Landit

6. GIVE CREDIT
“Compensation is important to keep people engaged, but so is a willingness to allow teams to own their wins.” —Clint Kisker, co-founder and president, MWM

7. READ THE CUES
“Effective communication means taking in not just what’s said but what’s unsaid, which is often more important.” —Kai Falkenberg, first deputy commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

8. RESPECT THE RENEGADES
“We forget that it was universities who were the first adopters of internet technology. They created the platform on which the internet was built. That’s not disruption; that’s enabling.” —Ryan Zagone, director of regulatory relations, Ripple

9. ENCOURAGE BALANCE
“People have lives outside of the workplace. Acknowledging that lifts the entire organization.” —Jeff Levick, CEO, The Players’ Tribune

10. SET THE TONE
“There will always be challenges, and sometimes it takes a lot of effort to find the silver lining. But what’s the alternative? And [who] wants to work in that environment?” —Debra Anderson, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Datavized Technologies

11. MAKE ‘EM LAUGH
“Good leaders know that humour and tenacity will get them further than anger and chaos.” —Caryl Stern, president and CEO, UNICEF USA

12. WORK EVERY ROOM
“Leadership is a choice. It’s not just on high, being in a glass tower. It’s all about connection, which builds trust, which builds empathy.” —Claude Silver, chief heart officer, VaynerMedia

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by Paul Lyons