40 Things I Know For Sure About Leadership

I’m turning 40 in just a few short hours.  In honor of the big day, I’d like to share 40 things I’ve learned about leadership over the last…40 years!

  1. Leadership is probably one of the most misunderstood capacities.  It’s not simply being in charge.  It’s not managing people.  It’s not making the rules.  That’s like saying having an egg means you’re eating souffle.

  2. Leadership is not something you either have or don’t have.  We ALL have the capacity to lead.

  3. The best leaders frequently admit they don’t know what they are doing.

  4. The worst leaders try to pretend they know what they’re doing ALL the time.

  5. Being an extrovert is not a prerequisite for being a successful leader.

  6. Likewise, being an introvert does not make you incapable of being a successful leader.

  7. Good leadership creates stability, harmony, and goodwill.  Something every human being craves.

  8. Experiencing solid leadership is more important to most people than getting a fatter paycheck.

  9. You take your leadership everywhere.  How you lead at work is how you lead at home.

  10. Your leadership was largely defined by the type of leadership you saw at home as a child.

  11. You will likely have to untangle a lot of what you believe about leadership if you want to become a successful leader.

  12. Being a successful leader requires you to do a lot of work on yourself.  Good leaders know EXACTLY who they are and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

  13. You can’t lead people by trying to fix them.

  14. You can’t save people from themselves.  If you’re constantly rescuing folks, you need to take a look at your own leadership.

  15. You cannot learn how to be an effective leader simply by reading a book.

  16. We systematically try to weed out most of our children’s natural leadership capacities in the hopes that they will socially conform and be well-liked.

  17. A good leader sets lots of boundaries.

  18. A good leader allows natural consequences to occur.

  19. A good leader recognizes that very few things really are LIFE or DEATH.

  20. A true leader delegates lots of roles and responsibilities.  They are not trying to keep all the balls in the air alone.

  21. Often being a successful leader means getting out of the weeds.  The details can be  important, but it can be hard to have scope if you’re down in the dirt.

  22. Natural leadership requires that we have empathy and compassion for everyone.  Remember, people are trying to do the best they can.

  23. Remember that people aren’t out to get you.

  24. Sometimes being a leader means realizing that a certain relationship is toxic and needs to end.  Even when it’s painful to make the break.

  25. Good leaders don’t hoard.  They create, nourish, and give life to their visions, and then get out of the way so other people can take them where they need to go.

  26. Learning how to be a solid mentor is the best leadership activism you can partake in.

  27. There are MANY styles of leadership. No one styles is the best.

  28. It’s OK for a leader to say: “I need to give that some thought.”  Answers are not always needed immediately.

  29. When you lead with your own internal compass, secure in who you are and where you are going, you can lead anyone anywhere.

  30. Being vulnerable makes you human.  It’s OK to let others see you aren’t perfect.

  31. Every leader fears failure. It’s typically considered the fear of failing at something they’re working on, but at an even deeper level, we fear failure because we fear being cast out.

  32. Every leader experiences shame from time to time.  Great leaders notice when the people around them are feeling shamed and do something about it.

  33. Leadership is not always bright and shiny.  Often it’s messy and painful.  Believing leadership to be only positive is like believing marriage to be like a romance movie.

  34. Leadership is a journey with lots of ups and downs.  Someday’s you will feel on fire as a leader.  Other days, you’ll feel like you can barely make it out of bed.  There’s nothing wrong with you, and you don’t need to aim for perfection.

  35. I believe leadership is a spiritual calling.  The capacity to lead lives in a part of your soul where your spirituality resides.

  36. Meditation definitely helps strengthen your leadership capacities.  So does Yoga. Both can suck.

  37. If you don’t step into your own leadership, someone else will try to step into it for you.  That leaves most of us feeling bitter and resentful.

  38. Leadership is an animalistic capacity.  You only have to watch any animal in existence to see this is true.

  39. Trust your instincts.  They are almost always right.

  40. It will only take me another 40 years to truly step into all my leadership capacities.

    Susan McCusker is the co-founder of The Circle Up Experience. She and her partner, Beth Killough, offer people the opportunity to interact with horses in order to learn more about themselves, reconnect with the natural elements of leadership, and transform their human herds.

    Come join the conversation over in our Facebook group. We work together every week to deepen our understanding of leadership, relationship, and life. We’d love to see you there!

By | 2018-01-19T11:10:46+00:00 May 30th, 2017|

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