Leadership isn't easy or everyone could do it. Some talented people make it look easy, but we often don't see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it look this way. Most leaders struggle at some point and have to learn some difficult lessons along the way. Experience can be the best teacher if you are open to learning. I've observed the following 25 ways (in no particular order) that leaders tend to get themselves in trouble:
Donald T. Phillips in his wonderful book, Martin Luther King on Leadership, does a nice job providing significant detail as to why Martin Luther King (MLK) was a great leader. We often focus on the rhetoric and powerful speeches that he gave, but there is so much more substance to the man than just what he had to say.
Leadership Thought #488 – 22 Questions You Should Ask Someone Before You Put Them in A Management Position
Through the years I have seen many unsuccessful promotions of staff to management positions and bad outside managerial hires. More often than not, the outcome would have been obvious if the employer had taken some time to ask a few basic questions during the screening process:
- What is your personal definition of management?
- Why do […]
We need move towards not away from one another. I worry that lately we are a culture that has embraced a “divide and conquer” mindset. Instead of “win-win” we think “win-lose.” Instead of choosing to co-exist with people who think differently from ourselves, we further and further isolate ourselves from others who could potentially expand […]
If leading organizations and people was easy, then everyone could do it. I’ve had a number of conversations lately with clients and colleagues who are complaining about how hard they have to work. More often than not, the average age of these people is under 45. I try my best to be understanding and empathetic […]
Leaders have far too many tools to distract them these days. It's easy to default to hyper-activity mode where action and movement trumps everything else. For example, it's impossible to properly listen to someone or fully understand a situation if you are constantly checking-in and out of the conversation or thinking about what else you could/should be doing. It worries me that as business and life gets increasingly complex our leaders are losing their capacity to focus and think. More often than not, there isn't a simple answer or quick fix to issues that end up on the desk of the chief decision maker. While it has become popular these days to espouse the benefits of learning by failing, some failures are hard to recover from (and completely unnecessary). You can't just plough forward and believe that courage, confidence, speed and resilience are the primary secrets to success. The quality of your thinking, application of your experience, soundness of your judgment, and consistency of your effort are equally important.
Life can be a roller coaster at times. There will be highs and there will be lows. The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything has to be perfect all the time. Perspective is important. There is no silver bullet. There is nothing you can buy or pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period.
In business and in life it's very important to know who you truly are before you attempt anything dramatic. There are so many messages out there telling us who we ought to be that we sometimes get caught up in a web of self-deceit because that's what we think we should be doing.
As the saying goes, “sometimes we are our own worst enemy.” I’ve seen many a good leader go down a “rat trap” of their own making. Often this is done with the best of intentions, but the results usually have nothing to with the original intention behind them. The following eight leadership mistakes happen much more […]
The great thing about my job is that I can find inspiration everywhere, from all walks of life and fields of practice. It is often cliché that leadership development professionals lean on sports and military examples (at least my male colleagues do), but there is a reason we do this, it works. Recently, I was […]