“If I was following myself, I’d kill me!”

by | Jun 5, 2023 | blog | 0 comments

An executive coach colleague told me that a client said to her, “Leadership is hard! If I was following myself, I’d kill me!”

Isn’t that a funny-sad line? And how true it is! 

Leadership is a challenging role that requires courage, integrity, and the ability to make tough decisions. As a leader, you will inevitably disappoint people no matter how hard you try. However, true leadership is not about popularity but about doing what is right. 

Let’s take a look at the importance of leadership, the qualities of a great leader, and the significance of engagement in the workplace.

1. Leadership is not for the faint of heart. Being a leader requires strength and resilience. It means making difficult choices and taking responsibility for the outcomes. Leading others means stepping up when the going gets tough and staying true to your principles, even when faced with opposition. It takes courage to navigate through challenges and guide your team toward success.

2. Be careful that you are always DWYSWD’ing. Consistency and integrity are essential in leadership. Doing what you say you will do (DWYSWD) is crucial for building trust and credibility with your team. By following through on your commitments, you demonstrate reliability and create an environment of accountability. People look up to leaders who lead by example and deliver on their promises.

3. Be the leader that you admire. To become an effective leader, you must first envision the kind of leader you aspire to be. Define your values, set clear goals, and develop a leadership style that aligns with your authentic self and supports your vision of the best leader you know. But remember, leadership is not solely about imitating others – it’s also about embracing your unique strengths and qualities.

Marry the two: your authentic “best” self AND the leader that you want to be.

4. Aspire to be a servant leader. Servant leadership emphasizes the importance of serving others and putting their needs before your own. Max DePree famously said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.” A servant leader first gives the hard truths – then listens, supports, and empowers their team members, fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment.

5. More than ever before, focus on engagement. Employee engagement plays a vital role in the success of any organization. Engaged employees are more productive, committed, and motivated. They want to feel valued, respected and have their voices heard. As a leader, it is crucial to create an environment that fosters engagement by providing meaningful work, recognizing achievements, and promoting open communication.

6. “People don’t quit their work… they quit their bosses.” According to Gartner, manager effectiveness is the number one priority for HR in 2023. Many employees are dissatisfied with their managers’ ability to lead…
* 63% expressed disappointment in their manager.
* 40% believed they could do a better job than their managers.
* 25% would be relieved if their manager left. 

So, in many ways, what my colleague’s client says is not the worst thing in the world. We want to be the kind of leader that both CHALLENGES and SUPPORTS our people. The charge in 2023 is to do both — give clear, unambiguous reasonable challenges to your people while at the same time pulling them into a relationship where you demonstrate that you genuinely care about them.  

Doing one without the other is a recipe for disaster — too much care is just as dangerous as too much challenge.

Leadership is a rewarding journey that requires courage, consistency, and a focus on serving others. By being the leader you want to be and striving for excellence in manager effectiveness, you can inspire your team, foster engagement, and create a positive work environment. Leadership is not about seeking popularity but about doing what is right, making a difference in the lives of those you lead, and creating true engagement.

Interested in doing all this – doing it right – and knowing how to be the BEST BOSS possible? Let’s talk! We can help you with executive coaching, management training, and building all your leadership muscles. Give us a call. We have the solution tailored just for you.

About Danny

With over 20 years experience in training and leadership development  — and holding an MBA and an MA in Organizational Development — Danny Ceballos has worked with organizations across the country to strengthen their effectiveness in leading and managing others through supervision+motivation best practices and strategies.