Letting down destroys you.
Maintaining and sustaining success is harder than achieving it.
Humility is your companion on the way up. Arrogance trips you at the top.
Three ways to protect success:
#1. Stay connected:
Not everyone is excited about your success. Some feel threatened. Others want to protect their turf by dropping you down a notch or two.
Now that you’re doing well, relationships with “power people” are even more important.
- How are you building relationships with allies on the board?
- How do the “Chiefs” view you? Does the Chief Executive Officer view you as an ally or threat?
- What are you doing to help colleagues be successful?
- How are employees standing on your shoulders, rather than you standing on theirs?
#2. Stay dumb:
It’s easy to feel smarter than others when things are going well.
Smart leaders don’t need to listen or collaborate.
- Force yourself to doubt yourself. The secret to healthy-dumb is confidence tempered with uncertainty. If you don’t feel uncertain, fake it.
- Stay curious even when you’re not. Say, “What other options are available?”
- Encourage dissent. Ask the entire team, “What might be wrong with our plans?”
- Say, “I could be wrong.” It’s easy to say, “I could be wrong,” when you feel you might be. It matters more when you feel you aren’t.
- Say thank-you when people make “dumb” suggestions.
#3. Stay humble:
It’s easy to feel “better than” when things are going well.
On your way up you worked on yourself. Now you work on others. They need to grow, you don’t.
Serving took you to the summit, but, now, your hands are clean.
- Practice humility, even if you don’t feel it. Fill a glass. Grab a broom.
- Confess your feelings of pride to trusted advisers.
- Stay connected and dumb.
Isn’t it disingenuous to act humbly when you don’t feel humble? No.
How can leaders protect success?
Note: This post is inspired by a conversation with a coaching client.