Coaching as many leaders as I have, there are patterns that emerge—and there are times it’s apparent, from the perspective of an outsider, that certain actions are not going to lead to the desired results.
I consider it part of my job to help leaders avoid unnecessary struggle. It’s in that spirit that I present some things you need to quit doing immediately—not because I say so but because they will not serve you in the way you think they will.
If you’d rather learn these lessons the hard way, that’s your right. But for those who are open to advice from someone who’s witnessed a lot of leadership situations, good and bad, here’s the list of things you need to quit doing (or avoid starting):
Comparing your success to that of others. Your leadership will never be like anyone else’s, and your journey is all your own. You will likely be successful in ways other leaders aren’t and you will fail as others might not. The goal of your leadership should be to be the best leader you can be, and the only accurate way to measure your success is against your own ideals and self-awareness.
Running from your problems. If you can’t face your own problems head on, you can’t lead others in their own struggles. To be a great leader, you must first build understanding by struggling with your own problems and issues. That experience is what will ultimately shape you into the leader you were meant to become.
Trying to be popular. If you want to be popular, you cannot be a leader. If you want to be a leader, you have to be willing to do the hard work, have the difficult conversations and take the major risks that make it all but impossible to be popular. Leadership can be risky at times—be prepared.
Being indecisive about what you want. You can never leave where you are until you decide where you would rather be. Decisiveness is everything when it comes to being successful in leadership. Make a decision about what you want, then pursue it with passion and determination.
Pretending you have all the answers. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to know everything. The sooner you admit you don’t have all the answers, the quicker those around you will be willing to help you fill in the gaps.
Going it alone. Leadership can be lonely, but it doesn’t mean you have to lead alone. The best leaders surround themselves with people who hold them accountable for their actions and help strengthen their character. If you have a tendency to isolate yourself, make it a practice to connect with others who will support you.
Trying to be everything to everyone. One of the greatest challenges of leadership is wanting to always do more. But trying to be everything to everyone is impossible and will just burn you out. Don’t allow yourself to flounder in the weeds trying to meet everyone’s expectations. Instead, believe in yourself and in others, and help inspire people to work toward their own priorities.
Lead from within: There are many lessons to be learned in leadership. Whenever possible, try to avoid learning them the hard way and quit them before they stop you.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.