The biggest mistake I see people make is that they think leadership is about the people who are following you.
They think it’s about understanding how to manage them, prod them, or get them to do something different. And while one of the biggest things my clients and I work on is understanding the internal workings of the key people (clients, teammates, partners, spouses) in their lives, it’s never really about those other people.
Leadership is mostly about you, the leader, and your willingness to let go of the habits and ways of thinking you’ve become as comfortable with and attached to as any childhood blanket or toy.
And as much as we want to talk about being inspiring or visionary, the hardest work of leadership isn’t creating an inspiring vision. The hard work is allowing your old self and way of thinking/being to fall away, and opening yourself up to new ideas and habits of leadership that often make you deeply uncomfortable.
That’s what improving as a leader is really about. And it’s why most of us would prefer to talk about management techniques instead of what the real day-to-day practice of leadership really requires.