The 12 Dragons all Leaders Face

The dragons you face are inside you. Stop blaming. Your shortfalls belong to you.

Face the dragon. You are the dragon.

Face the dragon. You are the dragon. Image of a sketched dragon.

The 12 dragons all leaders face:

  1. Humility during success.
  2. Confidence during setbacks.
  3. Stepping back so others can step up. Control freaks can’t lead because leadership demands trust.
  4. Putting plans into action – Follow through. Experience shows plans struggle to escape the pull of inertia.
  5. Leading change. Leaders don’t just do things. They change things.
  6. Admitting mistakes. Self-awareness, honesty, and courage are essential to saying, “I was wrong.”
  7. Listening with the goal of learning. “Real listening is willingness to let others change you.” Alan Alda
  8. Encouraging constructive dissent.
  9. Learning from criticism. Defensiveness shackles insecure leaders regardless of their skills and drive.
  10. Seeking feedback.
  11. Maintaining focus on the future. Problems are magnetic.
  12. Building the team.
Picture of a leader with clown face. "Leaders who need to feel superior to their teams end up with inferior teams."

Building the team:

Lead yourself to build the team. Your success depends on their success.

You must attract, develop, and retain top talent. Leadership success is all about the people around you.

How to spot top talent –

Top talent wants to:

  1. Know where you’re going so they can find alignment. Tell them the goal.
  2. Develop plans with you. Once they align with the goal, don’t give them the plan. Develop it with them. Top talent wants a hand in making plans.
  3. Make meaningful contribution. They ask, “Where do I fit in?” They need meaningful contribution. Drifting isn’t enough for top talent.
  4. Work with others. Lone Rangers have a place, but never on great teams.

Top talent loves rising to challenges.

Essential: Determine the nonnegotiable qualities you expect from team members. Go with their strengths; compensate for their weaknesses.

Which of the 12 dragons is most dangerous to you right now?

What suggestions do you have for defeating dragons?

Still curious:

Succeeding with Three Challenges that Derail Leaders

The ABCs of Giving and Seeking Feedback that Really Works

The ABC’s of Effective Feedback (