One thing I know from playing sports all of my life is that the most talented team or individual doesn't always win. Victory goes to those who play to win by using sound fundamentals, minimizing mistakes and maximizing their brains. I've won a lot of games by just playing smart. Smart leaders can win this way too.
Frequently as an entrepreneur and as a leader within several nonprofit organizations, I encounter people who run late for appointments, fail to follow through on commitments and exhibit carelessness with their written communication. Sloppiness abounds in these fundamentals and it boggles my mind how many people don't play life to win.
To further illustrate, consider a small choir ensemble. No matter how great the music selection, one off-key singer taints the whole performance and listeners leave with their only memory being how they cringed during certain moments of the song.
One bad note overshadows a potential masterpiece.
Have you ever thought about how habitually neglecting the basics affects your effectiveness?
If you want to set yourself apart as a great leader, start by avoiding the "cringe" factor. Don't let someone count you out before you get a chance to show them your skills.
Be on time.
Use spell check and spell people's names correctly.
Keep and remember your promises.
These are the little things anyone can do.
Excellent leaders excel in the little things and become noticed for being unnoticeable. They set themselves apart by doing the things everyone CAN do, but don't. Things like being on time, being conscientious and being trustworthy can take you far. Don't let them take you back.
What off-key notes taint your performance? What one little thing can you correct today for maximum impact? What leadership fundamentals would you add to my list? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.