3 Surprising Ways to Lead – Even if You Haven’t Led Before

You might be a great leader if you stopped shooting yourself in the foot.


5 self-defeating leadership behaviors:

  1. Asking too many questions about the past.
  2. Allowing narrow bands of competence to blind you to wide bands of incompetence. Being great with technology isn’t an excuse to be lousy with people. Being great with people isn’t justification for lousy execution.
  3. Working in isolation – getting lost in doing things.
  4. Holding grudges and clinging to past disappointments. Baggage always holds back.
  5. Giving up on others too quickly. Forgiveness enables growth and strengthens relationships.

3 surprising ways to lead – even if you haven’t led before:

#1. Lead feelings.

3 steps to leading feelings.

  1. Notice how things feel in the environment where you work.
  2. Monitor how people feel after interacting with you.
  3. Adopt intentional behaviors that build positive environments.

What would people be doing if your environment was bright? Do that.

#2. Look around and out.

One purpose of self-reflection is freedom from self-absoption. You’re not leading when you’re focused on yourself, regardless of your title. 

  1. How are you advancing the bigger agenda? Specifically?
  2. How might you build on pockets of high energy on your team?
  3. How might you help others strengthen relationships with each other?


#3. Intentionally choose the direction and impact of your influence.

  1. If you succeeded at influencing others, what would be different about them?
  2. Identify strategies and behaviors with intentional influence in mind. How do you best energize others, for example?
  3. Invite others to evaluate your performance based on declarations about intentional influence. For example…
    • What are you seeing me do that builds a positive environment?
    • What am I doing that drains people’s energy?
    • How might I energize our team?

If you succeeded at influencing others, what would be different about them?