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20 Dangerous Traps Intelligent Leaders Stumble into by Accident

Remarkable leadership takes more than talent and intelligence. Intelligent leaders sabotage themselves. Intelligent leaders go blind to reality and fall off cliffs.

20 Dangerous traps intelligent leaders stumble into by accident:

  1. Confusing smarts with skill. Knowing about and knowing how are wildly different.
  2. Self-reliance that leads to stubbornness. You run off course when you refuse to adapt.
  3. Limiting input to the conversation you have with yourself. Self-talk is unreliable when you have a limited perspective (and you always have a limited perspective).
  4. Neglecting self-care. Prolonged overwork shortens your future.
  5. Developing others but living on past victories yourself. When self-development lags, arrogance creeps in.
  6. Resenting the success of others. Nothing makes leaders smaller than hating the success of people around them.
  7. Ruminating on offenses, failures, and disappointments. Unforgiveness erodes joy. Nitpicking makes you small.
  8. Focusing on results and neglecting relationships. Success is about results and relationships.
  9. Telling too much and asking too little.
  10. Over-protecting talented team members. Many people are capable of more than you think. Coddling makes people weak.
  11. Saying “yes” but not learning to say “no.”
  12. Micromanaging. Trusting and empowering team members is key to their growth and your success.
  13. Giving feedback but not seeking it. Blind spots limit potential.
  14. Being too risk-averse. Calculated risks are necessary for growth and innovation.
  15. Prioritizing short-term gains over long-term goals.
  16. Catastrophizing problems. Dark leaders see problems everywhere.
  17. Overreacting to challenges. Calmness builds confidence in others. Knee-jerk reactions make you unreliable.
  18. Not fostering a culture of learning and growth.
  19. Forgetting to honor progress. Don’t wait for the finish line to celebrate milestones.
  20. Neglecting fun.

Which traps seem most dangerous to you?

From your perspective, what traps would you add that intelligent leaders fall into by accident?

Still curious:

10 Stupid Things Smart Leaders Do (Written last year without much overlap to the above list.)

Vulnerability: Smart Seems Stupid to Knuckleheads

Why Really Smart Executives Do Really Stupid Things (WSJ subscription required.)

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