Last month, I attended the Global Leadership Summit which hosted many invigorating speakers that all came together to discuss leadership. Patrick Lencioni, Founder of the Table Group was among these thought leaders, and is was his honor to close the first day of the summit. Patrick discussed dangerous mistakes that leaders make, and instead of outlining the many that came to mind, he focused on three.
- Becoming a leader for the wrong reason
- Failing to embrace vulnerability
- Making leadership too important
These three points really resonated with me, as they are not on the forethought’s of most leaders.
Becoming a leader for the wrong reason
Some people find themselves in a leadership role, and then lead from where they are paying no attention to themselves, but to the need of the many. This results out of a servant-based leadership. Martin Luther King reminded me of this type of leadership. I’m sure that there were many ways that he could have led everyone, however he was thinking overall of the well being of the many, versus his own selfish wants and needs. His vision went way beyond himself and his position came through in the things he said and did during his time.
However, at times there are individuals that choose to lead people, whether it be for money, or for selfish gain. In those scenarios, the results aren’t usually the same. That particular individual isn’t connected to a purpose other than their own, so the people that they lead, aren’t being lead properly. If you find yourself in a position were you don’t truly have a purpose in your leadership, you might want to re-focus and center yourself around, the thought of “how can I serve?”.
Failing to embrace vulnerability
As a leader, at times you feel like you should be strong, and not do anything wrong – you must be perfect. However, the people that you lead can smell this from a mile away. In fact, nobody is perfect, and embracing that as a leader is one of the best things that you can do. A leader has to be open to criticism, and willing to put themselves on the line for those that they lead. Simon Sinek said it perfectly in his TED presentation, “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe“:
“We call them leaders because they go first. We call them leaders because they take the risk before anybody else does. We call them leaders because they will choose to sacrifice so that their people may be safe and protected and so their people may gain.”
– Simon Sinek
If a leader fails to embrace vulnerability, then they ultimately fail to live up to their optimal potential of a leader.
Making leadership too important
Too much pride can destroy even the best of leaders. Making “leadership” too important can be get in the way of the true priorities, the true purpose of why you are leading. It is fun to be a leader at times, especially when everyone is listening to you. However, don’t get to puffed up on your own smoke. Try to get rid of the pride that you are storing up within yourself. Although you might not see it now, but in time, this can mislead relationships, and damage business results.
Have you ever fallen trap to one of these dangers? I would love to hear your story and how you overcame.
Photo credit: Vigdor by Flickr