“Leading” often means going first.

One way you can think about leadership when you are frustrated with others:

Why won’t they move forward?

A better way to think about leadership when we are frustrated with others:

What can I do better to help others move forward?

In the first scenario, you are looking for ways to control others. Good luck with that.

In the second, you are looking to take ownership of your actions.  That is not only possible, but it can also happen quickly.

AJ Juliani recently shared the following:

The reason I write about this today was that I recently discussed with a group of administrators on the “Core of Innovative Teaching and Learning,” one asked about what to do when you face resistance.  I suggested two things:

  1. What is assessed will drive teaching, not the other way around. If you encourage people to take risks and try new things, but only celebrate and validate “scores,” they will do what they can to get high scores.  If creativity is encouraged but shown to have no value, then you will get people sticking with what they have done.
  2. Go first. If you ask people to take risks and be vulnerable, you have to be open to modeling that as well. They won’t “jump” if you don’t jump first.

Recently, I posted an image from my upcoming book on “The Core of Innovative Teaching and Learning” and asked for feedback on an image. Not only did I change the title of the book (Innovate Inside the Box) based on thoughts and conversations, several commenters suggested different color schemes and the image became this:


I put it out there because I know that if I can put ideas out there and get feedback, it will be so much better than it will ever be if I limit it to my own thinking. I have also embraced that no matter how much input I consider and tweaking I do, nothing will be perfect for everyone.  I have to be comfortable with this vulnerability if I ask it from others, and I know it helps me tremendously.

I have been reading and watching a lot of Brene Brown lately, and this quote resonates:

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”

Our own willingness (or lack thereof) to “show up” is noticed by those we serve.  If we can go and grow first, that is always the best way to lead those that are resistant. When we avoid taking risks and trying new things, we can expect that same unwillingness from others.  “Leading” often means going first.

Source: George Couros