How to Tell You’re Dumbing Down Your Leadership

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-7-06-22-amIt’s important to realize that just because someone holds a position of leadership, doesn’t necessarily mean they should lead.

Leadership is complex.

For some leaders see it principally as the power to direct other people; for others, it’s about inspiring people so they feel they can do the impossible; and for some it’s centered on being a visionary.

But there are some leaders, that don’t try, don’t care, don’t see and don’t lead.

The dumbest thing you can do as a leader is to take your position for granted.

However you approach your leadership, recognize its complexity and resist the temptation to dumb it down

We must always remember, leadership is a privilege.

Here are six ways to keep your leadership smart and to stop dumbing it down.

Read every day. Don’t allow your leadership to become empty-minded or fall into a rut. Make a habit of daily reading that challenges you and has an impact on how you think, both creatively and logically.

Learn something new. There’s always something new to learn if you’re paying attention. Get to know the people around you and give yourself the benefit of their expertise.

Keep developing new skills. No matter how talented you are, your talent will fail you if you’re not skilled. Skill is achievement practiced, so work hard, and dedicate time for yourself to improve every single day.

Cultivate being a better listener. Everything around you holds answers if you learn to listen. When you speak you are only repeating what you already know, but if you listen you can learn something new.

Track your objectivity. Work to recognize and neutralize any bias you might have. We all have something we have to fight in this area, and it isn’t an easy task. But the reward is a level of credibility and respect that makes it a fight worth waging.

Work on developing foresight. If you want to see the future, look at the past. It will give you the insight you need to create the foresight for the future. Be a student of history—of the world, of your country and state, of your field, of your organization and your competitors.

Learn how to manage conflict. One study found that 10 percent of most conflicts are due to difference in opinion and 90 percent are due to someone using the wrong tone of voice. If you want to be an effective leader, conflict management is essential.

You can either play dumb or be smart. Fight to be wiser, smarter, better.

Lead From Within: Leadership is an opportunity to truly make an impact—not to dumb things down but to bring things up.


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.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images




Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

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,, 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.

  1. Tommy

    25. Oct, 2016

    I also empower my team and create an environment where my team feels comfortable holding me accountable. When they know I am open to suggestions and challenges, it allows cultivation of the best ideas, not just the convenient ones.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Happy room

    15. Mar, 2017

    I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information,
    I got good ideas from this amazing blog.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Chris Werner

    01. Nov, 2017

    Great thoughts on how to become better as leaders. Each of your tips are spot on. Not only are these tips great for increasing our potential as leaders, but help us become better people overall. I think it is worth noting that the poor leaders probably won’t see this article or implement these ideas, unfortunately. It is the great leaders that are truly interested in getting better that will read it and implement these tips (So for those who are reading this, continue to go forth and keep crushing it!).

    Thanks, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      01. Nov, 2017

      Chris, If you work on your leadership you end up working on being better in your life. Thanks for your insight and your motivation. Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  4. run 3

    11. Sep, 2018

    Great article. I will continue to develop new skills.

    Reply to this comment

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