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:
- Knowing ‘about’ is the same as knowing ‘how’.
- Position is contribution.
- Compliance is respect. Compliance is fear, not respect. People don’t believe in you; they’re afraid of you.
- Individual talent is the answer. High performance is about teams, not individuals.
- The good things people say about you are true.
- Lack of disagreement indicates agreement.
- 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:
- Finish things. Many people speak of their plans. Wisdom speaks of accomplishment.
- Embrace and enjoy the successes of others. Jealousy stunts growth.
- Get up. Ability increases when you get up after falling down. Don’t beat yourself up – pick yourself up.
- Action ignites growth. If you aren’t sure what to do, do something that won’t make things worse.
- Know-how emerges AFTER you press through adversity. Those who wait to feel competent remain incompetent.
- Notice what’s working. Let others point out wrongs; you point out rights. It takes insight to identify behaviors that sustain and enhance success.
- Find clarity and simplicity by leaning into confusion. Clarity and simplicity are harder than confusion and complexity. Pretending you know propagates ignorance.
- Learn from the mistakes of OTHERS. Accelerate your journey by avoiding what doesn’t work.
- Follow positive energy.
- Close your mouth and open your ears.
- Act as if higher ups are watching, even when they aren’t.
- 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?
Know how to treat people as human beings first before profit
Thanks Gerry. In the short-term treating people like dirt works. But long-term success is fueled by respecting people.
#11: Care about the details, as if God sees and judges by the ones that get hidden/ buried.
If the foundation is not sound, the entire edifice won’t last/sustain for long.
Design for the ages, not the moment. Ethics matter.
Hey Rurbane, thanks for adding clear insight to #11. There’s some good research that says we perform better when someone is watching. I use the term noticing to express this idea.
Pursuit of excellence matters only that we judge our own work/action … “good ’nuff fer gov’men work” don’t cut it. It’s more than being “noticed,” It’s judging, for oneself, that it is best as can be done, for the grace/success for all.
The concepts of taking possession of our own work and the near-extinct ethic of the craftsman (judged by the way they care/respect for their tools and their appropriate use) are due for a renaissance …
I’m optimistic that may be so.
Thanks Rurbane. Love where you took this. I’ll add that work isn’t noticed – from an organizational perspective – doesn’t matter. Yes, it matters to the craftsman, but the people who sign the check matter too.
Having said that, Do your best because it who you are, not because you need to be noticed.
Very well presented, each and everyone fits so well.
From a personal stand point #3 Get up. Ability increases when you get up after falling down. Don’t beat yourself up – pick yourself up. Not dwelling on the actual failure, yet identifying the root and #8,Learn from the mistakes of OTHERS & yourself, because we all do make them. Accelerate your journey by avoiding what doesn’t work. Adding #9 Follow with energy!
Have a great day!
Thanks Tim. Follow WITH energy is different from follow THE energy. I like how these ideas compliment each other, but express different ideas.
Yes I’m supposed to be the Energy the fuels the Energy so we can follow it.
Wow!! There is SO much here to reflect on and think about as we start each new day… Going to post the list of 12 things and do just that! Thanks for this Dan!!
Thanks Susan. Great to be on the journey with you. Best wishes.
For me, #4 really resonated: If you aren’t sure what to do, do something that won’t make things worse. I plan to put that up on my white board today as a reminder that my goal shouldn’t be to do something but to do something with purpose.
Thanks Jennifer. Sometimes we circle ideas but don’t take action. Just go make something better – in a small way. (If you can’t think of a big way to make things better.)
I like “follow positive energy”. People can give constructive feedback and still have positive energy. They typically will criticize with a solution in mind that helps to push your idea forward.
Thanks Pat. It’s surprising how powerful negative energy can be. Many of us need to follow positive energy because negative stuff is magnetic. I’m not saying we should ignore the dark stuff. Just don’t make it all of life. 🙂
I don’t know the answer, I wonder which is more magnetic, positive stuff or negative stuff?
If you aren’t sure what to do, do something that won’t make things worse. I learned a long time ago when things go wrong the worse thing you can do is nothing. There is always something you can do even if its setting up your replacement for success.
Thanks Walt. Loved your last sentence. When you screw up so badly that you’re fired, help the next guy succeed! 🙂
Always seek this one; Follow positive energy. Unfortunately positive energy individuals and attitudes are the minority and that is sad.
Thanks Roger. It takes energy to overcome the downward drag of negative people.
Thanks Dan, for always giving us great insights, especially this statement: “Overcome the seductions of leadership by persistently developing practical know-how”
I read this as: be open/transparent, be curious and be persistent in our quest to learn, connect with others, and consistent.
With gratitude, Sandy Gieber
Thanks Sandy. Your insights on development are practical and powerful. Curiosity is one of those practices that takes you further. Of course, it’s forward-facing curiosity that makes you leaderly.
“Speech is silver but silence is golden.” – Leo Tolstoy
“Saying is swallowed up in being.” – C.S. Lewis
Thanks for stopping in, Frank. Love the quotes.