What makes you a successful leader today will not keep you a successful leader tomorrow.  The world is evolving too quickly.  Because of technology and the availability of information, things are changing too fast.  The old saying is more true than ever – you will either make dust or eat dust.

Though they have been eliminated from the NFL play-offs, 2nd-year Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was arguably the finest defensive player in the NFL this past season.  In a recent profile in the January 14th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Jim Trotter gives us a glimpse into how Miller improved dramatically from his rookie season until now.

The following are 10 practices that highly of continually improving leaders:

  • Continually Improving Leaders Have A Strong Work Ethic – Leaders who continually improve work very hard.  They never rest on their laurels.  During the offseason, Miller trained at Velocity Sports Performance in Irvine, CA.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Continually Get Smarter – Miller knows that the day will come when he can no longer rely on just his physical talent alone.  He is working hard to learn the mental aspects of the game so when the time comes, he can get by on his guile.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Continually Upgrade Their Skills – Miller was not content being considered just a great pass rusher.  This year he purposed and became a more complete linebacker.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Want Respect – Effective leaders mature to a point where they desire influence and respect.  Miller says, “It’s not the amount of success you’ve had, it’s the respect you get in the locker room as a leader.”
  • Continually Improving Leaders Are Humble – Leaders understand that earning respect is a process.  Miller adds, “I feel like I’ve taken steps in that direction (earning respect).  But I still have a long way to go.”
  • Continually Improving Leaders Improve Others – In Miller’s two seasons, the team’s defense has improved from last in the league to 2nd while being tied for the league lead in sacks with 52.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Become Experts At Their Craft – Miller has become more attentive to his assignments and more effective in run and pass coverage.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Play To Their Strengths – Leaders know how to prioritize their activities to achieve maximum results.  This past season, Denver’s coaching staff placed Miller in advantageous situations against offensive lineman where he could overwhelm them with his athleticism.
  • Continually Improving Leaders Are Never Satisfied – Despite winning the AFC Defensive Player Of The Month In November, linebackers coach Richard Smith and Miller reviewed plays where Miller did not perform well.  Miller said, “That’s why Coach Smith and I get along the way we do.  Even if I come off a great game, there’s always something I can do better.”
  • Continually Improving Leaders Have A Solid Foundation – Miller realizes that hard work is the foundation of his success.  Without it, he will never achieve his potential.

Working Hard, Increasing Intelligence, Upgrading Your Skills, Earning Respect, Being Humble, Improving Others, Becoming Experts, Playing To Your Strengths, Never Being Satisfied, and Having A Solid Foundation.  If you practice these 10 things, you are sure to continually improve as a leader and have sustained success.

Leaders, what is one thing you can do from this list today to improve as a leader?

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