We’ve all seen it happen: A leader ascends to a top position, only to see their effectiveness erode because they believe they are superior to those they lead. When we error in defining reality we distance ourselves from realizing potential.

I recognize these errors because I have been guilty in committing them. Not everyone suffers these mistakes, though they occur with enough frequency in the ranks of leadership that it’s important to be aware of these causes of demise.  

If you’re in a position of authority, here are 3 things your team will never tell you that you should know:

1. You’re not as smart as you think you are. Just because we’ve been successful doesn’t mean we’re the sole reason for our success. When we believe we are the smartest person in the room, we can be certain one person is wrong. We must stay humble and hungry to learn from those we lead.  

2. The life you live is no more interesting than the lives of those you lead. When a leader becomes a celebrity they risk becoming bigger than the mission of the organization.  Now, people work for us instead of a greater purpose – a recipe for disaster. People listen to the stories we tell not necessarily because they’re interested in us; the fact is they get paid to listen to us. We must be more curious about the lives of those of those we lead than we are in hearing ourselves talk.

3. You are not as funny as you think you are. Professional comedians would love to be in our position of having a captive audience. It warms our ego each time we attempt to be funny and are rewarded with laughter. Yet, this ego-drug is addicting, adds no value, and distracts. It’s wise to remember: Am I attempting humor to solicit a certain reaction – or to inspire a particular action?

Effective leaders are honest with themselves, even when their teams can’t tell them the truth. Our worth is measured not by the attention we receive, but rather our ability to measure and advance the worth of our character.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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