The Most Courageous Act of Leadership


The flying monkeys on the Wizard of Oz scared the crap out of me. But, flying monkeys are nothing compared to the terror of yielding.

Yielding feels weak but it reflects courage, power, and heart. Anyone can fight. Great leaders yield.

Leaders who don’t yield beat down.

Kevin Eikenberry writes that great leaders surrender the need to:

  1. Be right.
  2. Speak first.
  3. Decide.
  4. Control.
  5. Take credit.

(From: “What You Must Surrender to Lead Best”)

Every item on Kevin’s list represents troubling, terrifying transitions, on every leader’s journey. Some never get past the need to be right. Because they don’t, they speak first, decide, control, and take credit.

Leaders who yield lift up.

Leaders who yield:

  1. Extend influence. Failure to yield, on the other hand, becomes manipulation and coercion.
  2. Elevate others. People feel respected when you yield.
  3. Endorse alternatives.
  4. Enable action. People dare to contribute when leaders yield.
  5. Energize passion. Yielding fans fires.

But, yielding all the time is weak!

Successful leaders never yield:

  1. Forward focus. All leaders always press into the future. Even when they step back, it’s so they can step forward.
  2. High standards. Yielding isn’t accepting mediocrity. Leaders look at themselves and others and say, “You can do better.”
  3. Ethics.
  4. Optimism.
  5. Passion for mission and vision.

What’s challenging about yielding?

When do you yield? Not yield?