Three Essential Enablers of Success
Failure is easier than success, at least in the beginning.
Miserable leaders posture when describing disappointment, frailty, or pain.
3 enablers of success:
#1. Honesty enables acknowledgement.
Don’t lie to yourself. If some aspect of leadership persistently frustrates you, acknowledge it.
#2. Humility enables honesty.
Arrogance can’t admit weakness or failure.
The beauty of humility is growth and learning.
The advantage of humility is the honesty to recognize limitations. Successful leaders know what they do well and, more importantly, avoid what they don’t do well.
The humility to recognize your narrow band of strength takes you further than the blindness of doing everything well.
Humility gives you permission to own your talent.
#3. Courage enables humility.
In the end, cowardice prevents success. You must look the beast of frailty in the eye to find meaningful success.
A failure runs from growth by never admitting mistakes. The most destructive result of never admitting mistakes is we justify negative consequences.
Distress persists until you acknowledge that failure hurts. (If failure doesn’t hurt, you’ve chosen the path of irrelevance.)
Every excuse you make for painful consequences prolongs failure.
The humility to step into the light with warts and weaknesses is rare, beautiful, and enabling.
Humility is the heart of success.
- Find a situation where your talent and skill make meaningful contribution.
- Acknowledge frailty, not as an excuse for failure, but as an opening for others.
- Make it easy for people to give you instruction or correction. When someone brings up a “small” weakness or fault, realize they’re softening the blow. The weakness is likely bigger than you think.
- Discuss strengths and weaknesses with colleagues.
- Have a team conversation about lessons you’ve all learned from failure.
Failure is easier than success, at least in the beginning, but as time passes the consequences of failure multiply.
What enables success?
6 Powerful Traits of Humble Leaders (Thrive Global)
5 Characteristics of a Courageous Leader (HBS)
Honesty: the Single Most Important Leadership Value (CEO Magazine)
Dan … there’s so much here for me. The reminder that when I look into the mirror I see the narrow band of strengths! I have struggled in each of these domains. (Or should that be, others have struggled with my leadership in these domains of critical need.) I sense I’m not alone and that as I read these words, there are others with me saying ‘challenge accepted’!
Thanks tooarbie. Looking in the mirror is an interesting experience, sometimes affirming, other times we may deceive ourselves.
It’s great that you note that others may have struggled with your leadership. Wow…that’s an important concept that takes honesty, humility, and courage to acknowledge. Best wishes on the journey.
PS…I can’t write about humility without exposing my own struggle with this powerful quality.
Rather nice formulation/triangulation of personal to team value, Dan. Thx!
Humility enables honesty;
Honesty empowers courage.
Honesty enables acknowledgement; acknowledgement empowers accountability.
Courage enables action;
Action empowers success.
Individual traits of humility, honesty and courage lead to the team having courage, accountability and success.
Love the addition of action to success. The ideas feel more complete. Thanks Rurbane.
How powerful – “Humility gives you permission to own your talent.”
Thanks Jackie. I think we have to rise above false humility… the type of humility that says, “I’m not good I think I’ll go eat a worm.” 🙂 Cheers
“The hard conversation is usually the right one to have,” is a quote I reflect-back to often times when something isn’t going as planned or failing to meet expectations. The most challenged leaders can avoid the tough discussion in an attempt to hope-away a problem. Although uncomfortable, addressing a challenge head-on with a productive conversation is rewarding and can provide a sense of ownership that leads to owning the solution.
The equation you outline is spot-on. However, I looked at it backwards. I would consider courage to be the catalyst to enable honesty in calling-out a challenge. Humility is a decision that a leader has to make in their approach. Taking the path of humility will lend itself to more engagement, feedback and less finger pointing or shut-down of those involved. By avoiding the hero, victim or the villain, a problem remains a ‘thing’ unattached to a person that must be dealt with in order to progress.