Seven Ways Leaders Move First for Best Results

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Moving first is the difference between leading and following. Seven ways leaders move first.


  1. Move toward people first. When you wonder if you should greet someone, you should. Extend your hand first and say, “Good morning,” first. Don’t hold your head down while walking the hall. If you don’t move first, you may give the impression you’re frustrated or disappointed.
  2. Move toward problems first. Leaning into problems and hard conversations expresses toughness and courage. Poor performing leaders may be great with people but they all lack toughness.
  3. Move toward solutions first. Although leaders courageously move toward problems first, they never focus on problems; they always focus on solutions.
  4. Move toward relationships first. Great challenges require great teams. Networking leaders always go further than isolationists.
  5. Move toward learning first. High performing leaders think more about things they don’t know. Confusion and uncertainty is the path to discovery. Certainty is the path to safety and stagnation.
  6. Move toward curiosity and questions first. Great questions make leaders look smart not dumb. Ask about resources, timelines, and deliverables. Answers end curiosity.
  7. Move toward responsibility and accountability first, not only for themselves but others.

Bonus: Move toward revising plans first. Working the plan is great. Working plans that aren’t working isn’t perseverance, it’s dumb.

Leaders don’t:

  1. Leaders don’t offer solutions first. They move toward problems and solutions first but they don’t offer unexamined solutions. They delay adopting solutions long enough to keep curiosity alive.
  2. Leaders don’t speak first they speak last. Drucker said, “Listen first, speak last.”
  3. Leaders don’t say “me” and “I”; they say, “we”.
  4. Leaders don’t complain. Complaining is an act of desperation.

Leaders skillfully move first.

How and when should leaders move first?

It’s foolish to always move first. When should leaders pull back?