Abnormal Leadership

Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Jesus.

All three were great leaders. Two created stellar companies. One created a movement that has spanned 2,000 years.

What else did these three leaders have in common?

Image by Francisco Huguenin-Virchaux Uhlfelder

They all went about leadership in an unconventional way. They broke from the normal and created a new path.

Richard Branson goes the distance to impress prospective customers. Backstage, before a speaking engagement, he approached Guy Kawasaki and asked him if he flew on Virgin Airlines. When Guy answered no, Richard gets on his knees and starts to polish Guy’s shoes with his jacket.

That’s not normal.

Steve Jobs created a juggernaut of a company with Apple. Coming up with the concepts of the iPod, iPad, etc. The company rose to astronomical heights. And he did it without focus groups. He broke with the conventional thought that you had to listen to your customers. He realized people didn’t know what they wanted until it was in their hands.

That’s not normal.

Jesus. Now Jesus could be seen as quite the oddity. He turned the other cheek. He spit in the mud and rubbed it into the eyes of a blind man. He touched people who were untouchable. He let his good friend Lazarus die.

That’s not normal.

To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.
–Carlos Castaneda

And your leadership shouldn’t be normal either.

It’s these odd behaviors and thought patterns that made these leaders stand out. Their uncommon behavior created buzz. It drew people.

Your leadership can benefit from the same type of behavior.

  • Find opportunities to do work that is unexpected
    By looking for and doing work that is unexpected, you start to stand out.
    People will take notice. They’ll see the effort you’re putting into your brand. You’ll build their trust.
    Richard Branson did this to Guy by shining his shoes with his jacket. What can you do to go the extra mile?

  • Look past what is wanted to what is needed
    You will create new products and services that have never been seen before. This requires vision and guts.
    People may tell you it won’t succeed. It’s never been done. No one wants it.
    But Steve Jobs looked past the naysayers. They told him the iPod wouldn’t be successful. He pushed on and created a worldwide phenomenon.

    What do you need to look past to create the next “needed” item or service?

  • Be willing to work with the untouchable
    The down and out in our society often get overlooked.
    They can’t afford the services you’re offering. They can’t buy the products you’re selling.
    Many people look at them as a blight on society.

    Yet they could be the ones that need your service or product the most.

    Be willing to interact with them. To touch them. To show them that someone cares.

    Jesus did this by touching lepers and diseased men. He changed their lives with his touch.

    How can you do this?

Be willing to step outside the normal boundaries of leadership. Look for new and innovative ways to lead.

When you’re willing and able to do this, your leadership will reach new heights.

Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average.
— Jim Rohn

Question: What are you doing that makes you different? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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