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To be a great leader, you need to start by leading yourself

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  • Most people go into top positions with good intentions, but those often crumble due to the demands — and perks — of the job. If you want to succeed, devote some time and energy to self-leadership, says consultant Lars Sudmann.

Source | |  Lars Sudmann

Being a leader is a little like being a parent, says Lars Sudmann, a former corporate executive, in a TEDxUCLouvain Talk. Beforehand, we have all these rosy visions of how we’re going to do it, how incredible we’re going to be, and how we’ll sidestep the mistakes that we see other people make.

But when it’s our turn to assume the role, we find that reality doesn’t match our expectations or imaginations. Sudmann, for example, believed that he would ace his first leadership role. Then, he held his first major staff meeting, an employee asked a question about the company’s email signature, and the proceedings — and his command of them — completely fell apart.

After some months, Sudmann realized he was fighting against certain entrenched factors that keep all leaders from improving. Like many in the working world, leaders have too much to do and not enough time to do it; desperate to look effective, they race around like headless chickens and don’t clearly think through their priorities and strategies; and being in a position of power causes them to assume that the people beneath them will take care of a lot of problems.

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