5 Ways to Help Teammates Navigate Butt Kicks

We all encounter arrogant leaders. You might be one. You probably have one on your team.

Butt kicks are a wake up call for arrogance.


You might be arrogant if:

  1. Listening is something others should do.
  2. You’re always right. (Who can always be right? Seriously!)
  3. You interrupt.
  4. You reflect on others, not yourself.
  5. Intolerance is a virtue.

“…Leaders get the most profound, enduring, and transformative leadership lessons from their leadership blunders.” Bill Treasurer, author of, A Leadership Kick in the Ass.

The entry point of humility:

Bill Treasurer says, “Humiliation is the entry point of humility.”

You receive a wake-up call – a butt kick – about who you are and who you want to be. Often it’s an event brought on by your own behavior.

Bill Treasurer – how humiliation transformed a leader:

Anatomy of a butt kick:

#1. Comfortable oblivion – you don’t see yourself.

#2. Startling kick – you receive a wake-up call.

  • Negative feedback.
  • Demotion.
  • Losing good employees.
  • Overlooked for promotion.

#3. Choice – you move in one of two directions.

  • Entrench and defend – double down on being right and they’re wrong. You try to change them and refuse to change yourself.
  • Open and willing – consider your contribution to the butt kick.

#4. Transformation – you change and grow.

The anatomy of a butt kick:

5 ways to help teammates navigate butt kicks:

  1. Hold the mirror up. Help them see themselves. You might say, “My sense is that you’re frustrated about this. What’s going on for you?”
  2. Step away from the intensity of the moment. Come back when the person seems more open.
  3. Reflect on humble leaders they admire.
  4. Share your own butt kick story.
    • What it cost you.
    • How you became receptive.
    • How it transformed you. Let them know that it’s OK.
  5. Point out that this is essential to their leadership growth.

How to help teammates navigate butt kicks:

How might leaders successfully navigate their butt kicks?

How might leaders help others navigate butt kicks?

About Bill Treasurer:

In the past two decades, thousands of executives across the globe have attended Bill’s keynotes and workshops. Benefiting from the concepts first introduced in Bill’s bestselling books, participants come away with stronger leadership skills, improved team performance, and more career backbone.

Follow Bill on twitter: @btreasurer

Purchase Bill’s latest book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass.