3 Challenges That Derail Leaders

Apr 22, 2016 1 Min Read


Challenge #1: Self-development during seasons of success

Talent’s halo makes you overestimate your abilities and underestimate your need for growth.

I often ask audiences to raise their hands if they’re smarter than the person sitting beside them. We all laugh, but there’s a hint of truth behind the smiles.

Leaders who do everything well are confused.


Challenge #2: Living by priorities rather than urgencies

Urgencies make you feel important, but sticking to priorities makes you a leader.

Three things that obscure priorities:

  • Pressure
  • Problems
  • Opportunity

The most dangerous urgency is opportunity. Priorities enable “no.”


Challenge #3: Pouring into yourself as you pour out for others

You ran out of steam because you poured out but didn’t pour in.

Warning phrases include:
I’ll take time off after. . .”
Just this time.
I just need to finish this, before. . .

Don’t justify poor decisions by suggesting you’ll do it right the next time.

An excuse is permission for failure to continue.

Succeeding with the three challenges:

Jim Parker, retired chief executive officer (CEO) of Southwest Airlines, gave me a surprising answer to winning at leadership’s challenges. He was CEO during the events of September 11.

It’s been five years since we talked, but I still remember him saying, “Be yourself.” I keep relearning the wisdom behind those underwhelming words.

Frequently reflect on yourself and your journey. Define your values.

Connect with mentors and coaches who help you find and express your best self. Avoid mentors who pressure you to be like them.
Define yourself by who you are, not who others expect you to be. This is the leader’s journey.

Being yourself is never an excuse for laziness, indulgence, or flaunting weaknesses.

Be yourself or someone else will define you.

What derailing challenges might you add to this list of three?

How might leaders succeed with derailing challenges?

Dan Rockwell is a coach, speaker and is freakishly interested in leadership. He is an author of a world-renowned, most socially shared leadership blog, Leadership Freak. Share with us some of the challenges you wish to add to this list at editor@leaderonomics.com or for more thought-provoking articles, click here.

Reposted with permission on www.leaderonomics.com.

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This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author. 

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