Default Leadership: The 4 Insidious Killers of Leadership – Part II


Part II of II

3. Intimidation – The risk is too great

Intimidation, the third insidious killer for leaders, is the menacing giant facing you down, keeping you from advancing and accomplishing your objective. When David, the shepherd boy, faced Goliath on the battlefield he courageously invoked a powerful faith declaration and took action steps to overcome the giant’s intimidation tactic. David said to the Philistine:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV)

David’s courage was key in overcoming Goliath’s intimidation. Therefore, building courage minimizes, even eliminates the intimidation factor. Courage is not the possession of physical strength, or size. David surely did not possess these qualities during his encounter with the giant. Courage is simply strengthening one’s mind by speaking forthrightly to the problem, then taking actions steps to ensure victory. Speaking a faith declaration engages a person’s total physiology, increasing adrenaline and the rush of blood to the brain. It’s the rush of blood to the brain that makes the difference, a rush of belief into the brain stimulating a “can do” attitude. A positive faith declaration rushes blood to the head stimulating action, while negative emotions tend to rush blood away from the brain to the legs igniting our flight mechanism.

4. Incompetence – The knowledge pool is not so deep

The last insidious killer for leaders is incompetence, which is the inability to take action for one’s lack of knowledge or inexperience to do the job. So what do you do when you’re summoned to do something but you sense your knowledge pool is not so deep? In my opinion, this is the time for collaboration. Collaboration is working with others to tap into another’s knowledge and insight. Incompetence rears its ugly head when we hit a dead end road; you know the place where awareness sets in so we can see our limitations for the first time. This isn’t a time for reclining into pity rather a time of recruiting others into action. Collaboration is about tapping into the knowledge pool of those with greater skill sets, talents and experiences necessary for you to accomplish your objective. To overcome incompetence do not stand-alone rather deepen your pool of knowledge by standing alongside others.

Confronting the Four Killers

The four C’s that overcome the four insidious killers are building internal capacity, gaining confidence, walking in courage, and seeking collaboration. Let’s go back to our story. After the pastor exhausted all leads, and upon my prompting this person finally stepped in to preside over the funeral. Was it difficult? Yes. Did the pastor overcome initial fears? Absolutely, but it wasn’t easy. Confronting one or more of these insidious killers of leadership won’t be easy but confrontation is necessary if leaders are to emerge victoriously. Leaders must ask themselves “Do I want to stay the same?” If so, they’re actually moving backwards instead of maturing into a larger leadership role. New challenges will confront emerging leaders. If leaders want to advance they need to understand these four insidious killers will confront them at each move. If you adopt these four counter actions you’ll be more apt to move forward, surmounting the odds to set yourself on the course of becoming the great leader you were destined to be.

How do you deal with intimidation? Is intimidation common in your life? How has incompetence stifled you in the past?

Accountability: Cultivating Excellent Working Environments


As a leader do you have difficulty confronting your team members and bringing accountability to them? Many of us do. Just how can a leader get his point across without bruising the relationship he or she has spent so much time building? Allow me to recommend a three-point strategy:

1. Approach: First and foremost take the time to think about your  approach, timing and outcome. Your timing is crucial so wait for the right  moment to confront your team members by ensuring your temper is in  check, then you will be better able to discern an appropriate time to  confront. Timing is everything when confronting someone.

Second, take  your personal style into consideration. I recommend that you use tact and  apply wisdom. For example, when you confront someone apply grace,  which means that you are “for” them rather than “against” them. By  doing so you put people at ease, knowing that you have their best interests  in mind. You do this by hearing their side of the story first rather than  “assuming” they did something wrong. Your can start by asking, “What happened…?” or “Help me understand why you made this decision”.

Your communication style also comes into play, so take note of your non-verbal communication. Remember to lean forward like you are interested in the discussion, smile, listen attentively and show concern. The key to accountability is to get the right answers for an honorable “win-win” solution.

2. Answers
: One of the purposes of holding your team members accountable is to gather information by seeking answers, which eliminate ambiguity. The right answers lead to clarity; accountability is incomplete without this component. You do this by asking probing questions and by cross examining all parties involved. Don’t assume anything nor take sides. Instead, gather the real facts before making a judgment call. Remember that your leadership image is at stake. Too many of the same mistakes over time will reduce your trust and ability to lead others.


3. Alignment
: The purpose of accountability is to align people with the vision, mission, values and expectations of the organization. One-way to accomplish this is to ask, “Do you understand where we are going?”, “Are you with us?” Accountability is about aligning a person to the original design and purpose of the organization, it’s philosophy and standards. Once an employee is aligned then you can move into a spirit of unity and cooperation to accomplish tasks as a cohesive team.


The ultimate goal of accountability is to help your team members complete their assigned responsibilities as to produce the best results possible, which will enhance personal, group and organizational effectiveness. Organizations that produce better results are usually organizations that have leaders who understand the importance of confronting poor performance. If accountability is administered correctly it builds a culture of excellence.
As a leader you cannot avoid accountability; it’s a part of life but you can make it more palatable for both you and your team members.

Do these points make sense to you? If so, which ones have you applied when holding others accountable?