The 7 Seductions of Leadership

Position, status, and success don’t magically make you superior to others.

Know-it-all leaders become less than they could be.

The 7 seductions of leadership:

  1. Knowing ‘about’ is the same as knowing ‘how’.
  2. Position is contribution.
  3. Compliance is respect. Compliance is fear, not respect. People don’t believe in you; they’re afraid of you.
  4. Individual talent is the answer. High performance is about teams, not individuals.
  5. The good things people say about you are true.
  6. Lack of disagreement indicates agreement.
  7. The problem is others. The seduction of success is the illusion of superiority.

Don’t settle-in because you have position, rank, or title. Prioritize the acquisition of practical know-how.

Neglect self-development; pursue complacency.

Overcome the seductions of leadership by persistently developing practical know-how.

The 12 sources of practical know-how:

  1. Finish things. Many people speak of their plans. Wisdom speaks of accomplishment.
  2. Embrace and enjoy the successes of others. Jealousy stunts growth.
  3. Get up. Ability increases when you get up after falling down. Don’t beat yourself up – pick yourself up.
  4. Action ignites growth. If you aren’t sure what to do, do something that won’t make things worse.
  5. Know-how emerges AFTER you press through adversity. Those who wait to feel competent remain incompetent.
  6. Notice what’s working. Let others point out wrongs; you point out rights. It takes insight to identify behaviors that sustain and enhance success.
  7. Find clarity and simplicity by leaning into confusion. Clarity and simplicity are harder than confusion and complexity. Pretending you know propagates ignorance.
  8. Learn from the mistakes of OTHERS. Accelerate your journey by avoiding what doesn’t work.
  9. Follow positive energy.
  10. Close your mouth and open your ears.
  11. Act as if higher ups are watching, even when they aren’t.
  12. Seek instruction. Affirmations don’t increase practical know-how. Skill development requires instruction, correction, and constructive criticism.

Which of the 12 sources of practical know-how seem most important to you?

What other sources of practical know-how come to mind?