The State of Denial is a Good Place to Learn About Leadership

by | Mar 29, 2018 | High Road Leadership, Leadership

Someone I love complains nearly every day about the behaviors, mannerisms and Twitter posts about a certain world ‘leader’.

“I can’t believe he said that!”

“I can’t believe he has lasted this long!”

“How long will people continue to support that idiot!”

I just listen to her laments and smile, nod, and say nothing.

I bring this up because these comments remind of two core principals of leadership.

  • A leader accepts the reality of a situation, rather than denying its existence.
  • If you don’t like a situation, you can either lead the change or do nothing.

This friend is a leader in every sense of the word, however, the current state of affairs goes against her values of honor and professionalism. Her feelings seem to take the wind from her sails. She is an action-oriented person, but she has yet to conceive of an action she could take to improve this situation.

Because you are reading this, I will assume you strive to be a good leader. If this is true, I ask you to engage in a bit of self-appraisal.

  • Are there situations where you find yourself saying, “I can’t believe…”
  • Is there an issue or problem that goes against a core value of yours, but you haven’t figured out what to do about it?
  • Have you faced a difficult situation where you have walked away, instead of tackling it head on?

The good news – you don’t need to beat yourself up. While many assume that a great leader is perfect and without flaws, a leader is human and makes mistakes! A typical leader will behave like a victim, cower to fear, avoid difficult conversations or back down from a bully.

Being a leader is an art that is mastered from experiences. You will be tested on this almost every day. Situations will crop up when you must decide, “Should I lead, or not?”

Allow me to offer three suggestions to help you become a better leader sooner and help you leave the state of denial.

  1. When you find yourself denying reality, take the time to write about your situation. Try to get a sense of why you’re unable to come up with an action that will improve the situation.
  2. When you back down from tough conversation or feel bullied, take the time to ponder why you let your inner child overcome the adult in you.
  3. When you feel more like a victim than a leader, give yourself a break. Resolve to be bolder and braver next time.

Being an everyday leader means just that. You must lead every single day.


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Ron Rael Leadership Provocateur, is a keynote speaker, consultant, and author.

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