“Rank has its privileges.” “Do as I say not as I do.” “I’ve earned my stripes.”

Common phrases likely spoken by common leaders.

Exceptional leaders expect only the privileges enjoyed by all others. Exceptional leaders do what they expect others to do. Exceptional leaders don’t stop “earning” benefits after they believe they have achieved them.

Exceptional leaders don’t ask their team to work on the weekends to meet a deadline and then fail to show up with the rest of the team. Exceptional leaders don’t leave early. Exceptional leaders aren’t too busy enjoying the benefits of leadership to work alongside the members of their team during a tough assignment.

One of my leadership assignments involved a group that processed applications for several energy efficiency programs. Every once in a while the number of applications for a program would rise sharply. The manager, one of my direct reports, would call for a mandatory Saturday to keep pace with the amount of work.

In order to leave earlier in the day, the group would vote to start at 6 a.m. On a Saturday!

The first time that happened on my watch, I showed up. I didn’t have to show up and no one expected me to show up. Besides getting a kick out of seeing me in shorts, everyone was thrilled to know that the boss was willing to make the same sacrifice they were making to be successful.

Are you an exceptional leader?