3 Difficult Things Great Leaders Do Differently

Leadership is a highly valuable quality that many individuals aspire to attain. However, there are certain things that great leaders do differently. As leadership executive coach – Lolly Daskal once said, “Becoming a successful leader is synonymous with becoming the best version of yourself – it’s that simple and also that difficult.”

This quote appropriately summarises the perks and responsibilities of a modern-day leader. However, it also hints at some of the conflicts great leaders have to face and tackle. 

Here are 3 difficult things that great leaders may face the need to do and how you can survive through these tough situations. 

1. Giving Feedback To Colleagues

When working with colleagues on a project or after having assigned your employees a certain task, there may have been instances your co-workers have come back to you with questions or clarifications. They may be asking for your advice to improve their work as well.

While anyone can pass comments with regards to work, great leaders handle doubts by providing their employees with “constructive feedback”. According to an article published by ElevateCorporateTraining.com, “tangible, actionable, focused and regular” comments are some strategies leaders can adopt to provide their employees with constructive feedback. 

By providing distinct comments on specific tasks, being “clear and direct” in your feedback as well as regular check-ins with your colleagues can help leaders to provide constructive feedback for others. As such, providing constructive criticism is one thing great leaders do differently at their organisation. 

2. Being Able To Say ‘No’ When The Need Arises

Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and now Politician – Tony Blair said, “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” 

Granted that saying no can put leaders in a tough situation where their colleagues may “lose their enthusiasm, become unhappy or even disengaged”, it is still essential for leaders to know how to say no so that they can turn their “visions into reality”. 

With that being said, a harsh and dictatorial tone is not the way to go either. Great leaders should first listen to their employees and demonstrate that they “respect and value others’ opinions”. 

If you still feel that your colleague(s) may not be on the right track, offer them a “conditional-no” or provide a “no with encouragement.” This will keep employees’ options for reworking a task open while still motivating them to do better. This way, saying no is yet another difficult thing that great leaders do differently. 

3. Getting Everyone To Reach A Consensus

In contrast to the earlier mentioned point, getting everyone to agree on a subject matter is yet another difficult task that leaders may find themselves having to deal with. As such, reaching a consensus is also one thing that great leaders do differently today. 

According to the Co-founder of Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching Franchise (ILEC) – John Mattone, “consensus happens when divergent views are brought into the conversation with the outcome of shared goals”. This means that every employee needs to put away their egos and emotions aside to focus on their company’s vision and goals instead. 

By encouraging active “participation” from all employees, setting up a “voting system” and reminding everyone about the “common goals” to be achieved by the end of the meeting, a consensus can be achieved within the team much more easily. While this can be a challenging process to establish, getting everyone to reach a consensus can also help organisations to assure its success and longevity in the long run. Thus, this feat is another task that great leaders do differently at their workplaces. 


In summary, great leaders may find that more often than not, they will have to make difficult decisions throughout their careers for the betterment of their companies. Giving constructive feedback to colleagues, being able to say no when the need arises and getting everyone to reach a consensus are 3 examples of difficult things that great leaders can do differently today so as to achieve their organisational goals without facing any unwanted fuss. 


StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in empowering leaders by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you want to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, feel free to reach out to us here.

Reshma is StrengthsAsia’s content writer and research contributor. She enjoys spending her time writing anything from poems to screenplays, and everything in between. She also finds joy in reading novels, baking and catching movies with her family. Participating in creative activities helps her find inspiration and new ideas for her work.

Aly is StrengthsAsia’s marketing and communications guru and lead editor. She's over the top inquisitive and everyone in the company knows her as “The Googler” as she practically googles everything. Honestly, we all worry for her… She is also the Principal Trainer for our one of a kind ice cream team building workshops in Asia.

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