Earlier this year, we unveiled our new mission: championing leadership that works in the 21st century. In service to that mission, our Founder, Doug Conant, tweeted a lot of leadership tips this year — tips that can empower leaders to serve with greater impact and influence people with honor. As the year comes to a close, we looked back at Doug’s year in tweets and compiled 50 of his absolute best leadership tips of the year. Many of these are the tips that resonated most with the ConantLeadership community and sparked the most engagement. Our hope is that they will inspire you towards an even more fulfilling year of life and leadership in the new year. Enjoy!
1. On being empowered:
Remember, you can *choose* how you respond to even the most difficult situations. Empower yourself to thrive in the face of adversity.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) January 19, 2016
2. On integrity:
Whatever you advocate, you have to be doing it, living it, embodying it. Day in & day out. When the spotlight is on & when nobody’s looking.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) January 9, 2016
3. On choosing leadership that works in each moment:
Leadership is a choice we make again & again. In each moment we can choose – to listen better, set standards higher, add more clarity.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) January 12, 2016
4. A quote from Ginni Rometty on pushing out of your comfort zone:
“Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.” – Ginni Rometty
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) January 17, 2016
5. On the depth of your commitment:
In the space between our best intentions & our actions lies something vital: the depth of our #commitment to change. #leadership
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) January 30, 2016
6. Rethinking the “hard” stuff:
The soft stuff is the hard stuff. It takes real strength to choose compassion over judgement, listening over talking, courage over fear.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) February 19, 2016
7. On why you need purpose:
As leaders, people are depending on us to be consistent, competent, reliable, and fair. We need a clear & compelling #purpose to guide us.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) February 24, 2016
8. How the road to mastery begins:
The road to #leadership mastery begins with one simple question: What’s one thing I can do better tomorrow?
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) February 21, 2016
9. A quote from Arthur Ashe on getting right to work:
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
Let’s get to work!
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) February 18, 2016
10. You get what you give:
It is unrealistic to expect extraordinary effort & performance without creating an environment in which people feel extraordinarily valued.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) March 21, 2016
11. On getting stuff done:
#Leadership is about getting things done. We must find a way to accomplish stuff, no matter the obstacle, no matter how hard it seems.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) March 28, 2016
12. On principled leadership:
We must have the courage to stand by our principles even when it is very difficult or unpopular. #Integrity #LeadershipThatWorks
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) March 30, 2016
13. Perfection can be the enemy of progress:
When we hold perfection, not progress, as our gold standard it becomes a slippery slope towards excuse-making, inaction, and exasperation.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) March 31, 2016
14. On doing your best, not just some days, but every day:
Today, tomorrow, and every day: you’ve got to do *your* best to inspire people to do *their* best.#LeadershipThatWorks
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) March 24, 2016
15. On high standards:
Great leaders don’t just set high standards for others, they set and uphold high standards for themselves. pic.twitter.com/wXcBh0eIXa
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) April 20, 2016
16. On growth:
Great leaders recognize the need to get better — & are determined to do whatever it takes to achieve growth. #Leadership #MondayMotivation
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) April 25, 2016
17. How to earn trust:
When you act with #integrity even when it is inconvenient, risky, or against your own interests, you are showing people you can be trusted.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) April 30, 2016
18. On the opportunity that each moment holds:
Every interaction is an opportunity to lead: to set high expectations, add clarity, or offer your help. The action is in the interaction.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) May 14, 2016
19. How to have more productive interactions:
In each interaction, first ask “how can I help?” Then Listen intently, Frame the issue, Advance the agenda. Listen. Frame. Advance.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) May 15, 2016
20. On cultivating courage through practice:
Courage is a practice; we can cultivate it, strengthen it, and grow it — as long as we are willing to work on it consciously & repeatedly.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) May 23, 2016
21. Be your own toughest critic:
Be your own toughest critic. Demand excellent performance from yourself and your #leadership will thrive in the face of adversity.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) May 24, 2016
22. On doing well by doing good:
You CAN wholeheartedly focus on delivering superior performance while also enabling employees to live their values through their work.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) May 10, 2016
23. Some evergreen advice on hiring from David Ogilvy:
Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable – David Olgivy
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) May 28, 2016
24. On remembering what’s most important:
A common #leadership mistake is to get so preoccupied w/ the tasks that you lose sight of the people. But w/out the people, there is no org.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) June 18, 2016
25. On owning up:
Leaders: Own up to mistakes. Deal with them swiftly, truthfully, and thoughtfully. And then move on. #LeadershipThatWorks
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) June 4, 2016
26. Leadership is an art:
Great #leadership is a performance art — honed with intention, practiced mindfully, and improved constantly.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) June 1, 2016
27. On expressing gratitude:
Say “thank you” earnestly, often, & without caveats. Gratitude for a job well done does NOT “go without saying.” pic.twitter.com/g0tqs0Qqt5
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) June 15, 2016
28. On having a higher ambition:
We spend most of our waking hours at work or thinking about work. Shouldn’t we have a higher ambition to make it as meaningful as possible?
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) June 22, 2016
29. On better listening:
Amazing how much you can learn in a short period of time if you simply let people speak. Be present & listen carefully. #BetterListening
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) July 26, 2016
30. What leadership is really all about:
Leadership is about behavior & performance – not intentions. To be effective, there must be quality alignment between yr words & yr deeds.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) July 21, 2016
31. Trust is mandatory for leadership success:
#Trust is not a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. https://t.co/R2qNN86sGu
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) July 18, 2016
32. Don’t be shortsighted:
If you sacrifice integrity to deliver value in the short term, you put your ability to deliver enduring value in the long term at risk.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) July 19, 2016
33. What we actually do is who we actually are:
We become what we repeatedly do. To become trustworthy, we must do what we say we’re going to do. And do it well. Over & over again.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) July 13, 2016
34. More on growing your credibility:
When you “walk the talk”, repeatedly, you grow your credibility — and create a profound reservoir of trust and belief in your ability.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) July 16, 2016
35. We can’t go it alone:
In #leadership, as in life, we can accomplish very little on our own. The way we treat others will determine our success or failure.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) August 4, 2016
36. Your leadership homework:
Some #leadership homework that won’t feel like work:
Take the time to personally thank somebody today for their help & contributions.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) August 5, 2016
37. How to cultivate limitless potential:
When you adequately cultivate #trust and respect, the potential for your organization becomes limitless; all things are possible.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) August 16, 2016
38. You’re never done improving:
The demands of leadership are consistently increasing. The standards get consistently higher. We must consistently improve our craft.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) August 23, 2016
39. On leaders as ambassadors:
Our actions do not represent us alone — we are also representatives of our team, our company culture, our entire organization.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) August 25, 2016
40. On the competency you need most:
The ability to build quality work relationships is among the most important competencies for the tough-minded leader of the modern age.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) September 4, 2016
41. On being a leader who does both:
The most effective leaders are tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people. Not either, or. Both. #LeadershipThatWorks
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) September 1, 2016
42. Never, ever stop learning. It leads to better performance:
As leaders, if we pursue learning & growth — our personal growth can ultimately translate into higher performance for the enterprise.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) September 27, 2016
43. On putting yourself to the test:
Each challenge that comes our way is an opportunity to put our character, our approach to leadership, and our approach to life to the test.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) September 13, 2016
44. On energizing people to do their best work:
The job of #leadership requires that you give people the energy to do their best work while also continuously challenging them to do better.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) September 14, 2016
45. How to make courage a habit:
When we make a consistent practice of choosing the courageous response, courage becomes a habit – a habit that can transform our leadership.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) October 3, 2016
46. A leadership mantra:
A leadership mantra:
Expect hard work. Expect courteousness. Expect curiosity.
Model the behavior.
Work hard, be courteous, stay curious.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) October 4, 2016
47. People are watching:
Leaders, remember: people are watching what we do and how we do it. Engage with intention, discipline, focus, and integrity.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) November 19, 2016
48. Leadership can bring you joy and fulfillment:
When you are deeply committed to your leadership craft, your daily interactions can become both highly effective and highly enjoyable.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) December 1, 2016
49. Hammering this point home because it’s so important:
Do what you say you’re going to do. And do it well. How can people trust a leader who says one thing but does another? They can’t and won’t.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) December 7, 2016
50. Finally, you can be the leader people are searching for! It’s up to you.
People are searching for enlightened leaders who speak to them in an authentic way. You can decide to be this kind of leader. It’s a choice.
— Doug Conant (@DougConant) December 5, 2016
What pieces of leadership wisdom spoke to you the most in 2016? Share in the comments.