8 Temptations of Leadership


The temptation to fix.

It’s hard to resist the urge to intervene. Even when we know the team needs to figure it out, there’s a part of us that wants to ride in on the white horse. Especially when we think we know what’s needed.

Choose to let them grow.

The temptation to mislead.

Just a little of course. Sometimes it feels much easier to tell people what they want to hear or leave out some of the painful details. It can happen to the best of us. Especially when we’re afraid.

Choose to build trust.

The temptation to win.

There’s a moment in conflict when it’s no longer about the issue. It’s about winning. It’s hard to compromise even when the situation escalates beyond any possible value. Especially when we feel we’re right.

Choose to let go.

The temptation to take.

When we’ve worked hard we might feel justified in taking just a little more credit than we deserve. We may even take advantage of someone’s loyalty or admiration. Especially when we don’t feel appreciated.

Choose to be generous.

The temptation to fake.

Wearing a mask is a great way to project an image we think others will admire. It’s tough to be true to who we are when it may not be popular. It feels like acting is a necessity. Especially when we feel vulnerable.

Choose to be you.

The temptation to hide.

There are times when we know we should take responsibility but it seems less risky to blame or deflect. We worry whether our courage will be appreciated. Especially when we’ve been burned before.

Choose to step up.

The temptation to avoid.

We face decisions that are difficult, complex and uncertain. Rather than make a choice it might seem easier to wait until someone else takes it or it goes away. Especially when we’ve felt the sting of failure.

Choose to act. 

The temptation to gripe.

When things are tough we look for somewhere to vent our frustration or pain. The most available option might be our coworkers or even the people on our team. Especially when you believe you’ve been wronged.

Choose words that heal.

Every choice you make is creating the habits that will determine your leadership destiny.


  1. Hi Scott,
    Very interesting post. My applause and thanks for using the word “gripe” instead of whine. People have taken up using the phrase “stop whining” yet it is terribly demeaning suggesting the person is acting like a child. There are so many other words that work like yours — gripe — or complain etc…

    So a big heartfelt thanks from me (The People Skills Coach™) for using words that uplift others not demean them.



    1. Thanks Kate. I appreciate your comment. You know I didn’t think about it at the time but I definitely see your point. We can describe the behavior without demeaning the person.


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