You’ve likely heard the phrase “leadership excellence” associated with great leaders. It’s thrown around so much, its meaning can get lost. To understand what it really means to leaders like you as you manage your restaurant team, let’s first talk about what leadership excellence is not:

What Leadership Excellence Is NOT

Focused on you. A leader is a single person, but leadership success is judged by the outcome of the team. Your commitment to excellence starts with a commitment to your team. John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Exceptional leaders arise from exceptional teams – one cannot exist without the other.

Flawless. The pursuit of leadership excellence requires perseverance. Leaders take risks, and when those risks don’t pay off, great leaders try again. Most all exceptional leaders see failure as a challenge rather than a deterrent. No one is perfect, and that goes for great leaders, too.

Part of your to-do list. Excellence in leadership is not something you achieve and then move on to the next task on your list. Exceptional leaders weave coaching their team and developing their skills into everything they do.

What Leadership Excellence Is

Here are just a few traits exceptional leaders have in common:

Driven by learning. Exceptional leaders are lifelong learners. They make time to develop new skills and expand the ones they already have. They seek out ideas that are different from their own and pursue knowledge that is outside their area of expertise. They don’t see experts in other fields as threats, but as tools for innovation.

Goal oriented. Great leaders don’t take shots in the dark. Their sense of direction is dictated by setting and achieving goals. You will be more effective as a leader when you set goals for your restaurant, your team, and yourself. Define milestones to stay motivated along the way.

Committed. Commitment, by definition, is “the state of being dedicated to a cause or activity fully.” If you’re driven to excellence on some days and not on others, you’re not really committed to anything. Great leaders stay committed to their goals while also finding balance in their lives.

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