Site icon Leadership Freak

The Leadership Secret

I love asking leaders to talk about tipping points in their lives – when their leadership trajectory started or shifted.

Mike Howard’s leadership course found clarity when his manager at CIA took an interested in him. His story is like many others. Someone believed in him and life shifted.

While Mike talked, I thought about the opportunity you and I have to lift others on their leadership journey.  Your greatest opportunity isn’t products or projects its people. People change people.

“What did your manager, I asked, see in you?”

Mike listed three career enhancing qualities that create opportunities.

  1. Hard work.
  2. Step up.
  3. Ability.

Mike’s three part formula for success is; enhance your abilities, take on challenges, and work hard. But there’s something more.

The Essential Shift

There is a fourth necessary component in the puzzle of leadership: Individual contributors believe in themselves; leaders believe in others.

During our conversation, the Chief Security Officer for Microsoft, said, “Individual contributors have the right to promote themselves and their career. Leaders, however, shift from more selfish to more selfless. Leaders promote others.

Mike added, “The success of the troops leads to the success of the leader.”

Military metaphors are easy for Mike. He love’s reading biographies of great leaders. When he let Churchill’s name slip out, I resisted the temptation to start talking about one of my favorite historical characters…

Secret Ingredient

Stepping up, working hard, and enhancing your abilities won’t make you a leader.

There’s a secret ingredient in the soup; something that moves you from an individual contributor to a leader. Shift from more selfish to more selfless by believing in others.


Microsoft’s CSO on Decision Making – Part one of my conversation with Mike Howard. Yesterday Mike responded to some of your comments.

How Pushing Papers Helped Microsoft’s CSO – Choices that enhance careers.


How can you pour from your cup into another’s, today? Help us by being as specific as you can.


Don’t miss a single issue of Leadership Freak, subscribe todayIt’s free.  It’s private.  It’s always practical and brief.

Go to the main page of Leadership Freak by clicking the banner at the top of this page, look in the right-hand navigation bar, enter your email and click subscribe.  Your email address is always kept private.  Note:  if it doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter for a confirmation email.

Exit mobile version