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7 Boring Things Successful Leaders Do That Failing Leaders Neglect

I asked the mechanic if they rotated the tires on my vehicle. Tire rotation is included in the price of an oil change.

His report was, “Your tires look great. The technician didn’t think they needed to be rotated.”

The reason my tires wear evenly is I have them rotated BEFORE they wear unevenly! For crying out loud!

Tire truth: Don’t wait for uneven wear to rotate the tires.

The seduction:

Problem-fixing is irresistible to incompetent leaders. Don’t get me wrong. Fixing stuff is essential to success. But real leadership includes boring work.

Fixing problems makes you feel important, competent, and powerful.

Rotating the tires – when nothing is wrong with them – is unglamorous and boring.

Boring work:

#1. Engage in regular one-on-ones.

If you don’t have time to support team members, when will you have time to solve the problems caused by neglect?

#2. Listen.

Listening is disappointing because talking feels powerful.

  1. Ask an open question. What … ? How … ?
  2. Smile.
  3. Relax.
  4. Ask a forward-facing follow-up question.

#3. Be curious about tire wear.

Ask about small issues before they keep you up at night. Uncorrected tire wear eventually becomes a blow out on the highway.

You may protest, “If I bring it up, things will get worse.”

Give space for others to rotate the tires. Don’t solve small issues. But let people know you see what’s happening.

Tell a manager, “I noticed tension on the team.” She may say, “It was nothing.”

You might reply, “I was just wondering. Will you let me know if it continues?”

#4. Describe what you see when you see it.

Feedback needs to happen on the heels of action. Next week’s one-on-one is too late.

#5. Honor character.

#6. Eat healthy and exercise.

#7. Turn off your computer at 7 p.m.

Do the boring work! The boring work is the deep work of leadership.

Which items on the above list are most relevant to you today? Why?

What are some unglamorous, but essential, aspects of successful leadership?

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