Facing the Greatest Struggle of Leadership

Say, “I’m learning,” not “I’ve learned.”

“I’ve learned,” gives the impression of arrival and we both know you ain’t there yet.


Learning or learned:

Learning is a matter of the heart, not the head.

You’re learning or you’re getting stupid.

Learning reflects courage, openness, and humility. Arrogance makes you stupid.

What have you learned:

A member of the audience recently asked, “What have you learned about leading?”

Everyone wants to know ‘how to’ solve a problem, answer a struggle, or eliminate stress. 

Learning new leadership techniques, strategies, methods, and skills is easy compared to the battle that lies within.

The greatest struggle of leadership is in your heart – between the power of humility and the seduction of arrogance.

Humility practices vulnerability.

  1. A vulnerable heart learns. You remain as you are until you open your heart.
  2. An arrogant heart thinks it knows when it doesn’t.
  3. A humble heart respects the talent, experience, and perspective of others.

Learning new skills – without heart – distracts you from the real work of leadership.

The great delay:

The thing that most delays the growth of leaders is arrogance.

Symptoms of arrogance:

  1. Turnover on the team. Talented people run from leaders who won’t listen.
  2. Feeling you’re right, even when you have no experience or training.
  3. Needing to have all the answers.
  4. Lack of curiosity.
  5. Contradicting the voice of experience offhandedly. Often the thing you don’t like hearing is the thing you most need to hear.

Less arrogant:

Recently I’ve found that working to be less arrogant is better than working to be more humble. There’s something freeing in the language of ‘less arrogant’.

Show up to be a little less arrogant today.

  1. Smile. Arrogance looks smug, serious, or high-and-mighty.
  2. Ask more questions. Go on a curiosity walk-about.
  3. Notice strength in others.

How might you be a little less arrogant today?

What are you learning about leadership?