The Hardest Person To Lead

It doesn’t take long to realize that leadership is hard. You could quickly compile a mental list of people who make that a true statement. But, in the book True North, Bill George says, “the hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself.” He is right.

The life we have is often the result of poor self-leadership. The greatest obstacle to experiencing the life we want is poor self-leadership. John Maxwell said “If I could kick the person who is most responsible for my problems then I wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week!” The toughest person to lead is not not above me, below me nor beside me. It is me. The most important conversations I will ever have will be the ones I have with myself.

In the book, Derailed, Tim Irwin gives some great hints:

1. Grow in self-awareness by proactively seeking feedback from multiple sources.

2. Find a wise and trusted advisor to help you interpret various work experiences.

3. Be receptive to information about areas in which you are less than stellar.

4. Fine-tune your ability to connect with others.

5. Work on empathy.

6. Conduct a 360-degree feedback exercise.

7. Identify the circumstances under which you are likely to lose your composure – develop early warning systems…

8. Wait longer to say something in a meeting-write it down and test if for appropriateness before you say it.

A Challenge
Take charge of your personal disciplines, attitudes, and communications and watch the changes that occur in the world, and the people, around you.

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2 Comments on “The Hardest Person To Lead”

  1. Annie Says:

    6. Conduct a 360-degree feedback exercise.
    Can you explain waht this means please?
    Thank you


  2. Hey Annie:
    In business a 360 review is getting feedback from those around you; your bosses (above), your peers (beside) and your direct reports (below). These people will experience your work from completely different perspectives. This is also helpful on a personal level but less structured. Yet the concept is the same. Get feedback from those in your life about how you are doing and where you can improve your leadership/relationship with them.


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