Leaders: Five Transitions Great Ones MakeThe most successful business people recognize that leadership ability is the sum of experience and perspective. So what sets successful leaders apart from the average?

In a Forbes post from 2013, contributor and leadership advisor Mike Myatt outlines five transitional phases that all great leaders move through to go from good to great.

Leaders Find Purpose

The best business leaders recognize the importance of common purpose and shared values to the success of their organizations. Purpose is a defining characteristic that shapes passion, and helps dictate a strong work ethic.

Myatt points out that those driven by profit may find themselves successful for a short time, but “great leaders make the transition from profit to purpose.”

He notes that a lesson many average business people miss is the role of profit in a company’s success. While all businesses exist to make money, great leaders recognize that purpose at the personal and organizational level is the key to prolonged success.

People First

For Myatt, the role of a leader is inspiring change and helping others recognize value in themselves, and the organization.

“Average leaders spend time scaling processes, systems, and models — great leaders focus on scaling leadership.”

Being a great leader involves some level of introspection and humility, and recognizing that trust, loyalty, and respect from your employees are earned through the way that you lead.

Develop Awareness

“Great leaders are self aware, organizationally aware, contextually aware, and emotionally aware.”

They embrace an open leadership style focused on learning and listening from everyone in their organization, and aren’t threatened when their decisions and positions are challenged.

Leaders who are unwilling to change their minds when challenged by their employees won’t grow and develop as leaders.

Shun Complexity

Great innovators are continually looking for ways to simplify the way they do business, for the benefit of their customers and their employees.

Myatt argues that complexity in the organization stifles innovation and negatively impacts culture. Think about the way that your organization delivers value to clients, partners, and employees.

If a process can be streamlined for efficiency without sacrificing quality, simplify.

Get Personal

“Great leaders understand nothing is more personal than leadership, and they engage accordingly. The best leaders understand a failure to engage is a failure to lead,” says Myatt.

Businesses are human-powered enterprises, and truly effective and mature leaders demonstrate empathy and compassion at every turn. They listen carefully to those around them, coach employees through complex problems, and always look for opportunities to learn from their teams.

Performance is achieved by helping others become successful.