How My Kindergarten Teacher Ruined Me as a Leader…and How I Fixed It

My kindergarten teacher ruined me as a leader for nearly twenty-five years.

It’s not her fault. She meant well when she told me in class one day that if I brought cookies to class, I must bring enough for everyone. I’d only brought a few extra for my friends.

She meant well when she essentially said, “what you do for one, you must do for all.” But that is terrible leadership advice.
Kindergarten Leadership “What you do for one, you must do for all” might work in kindergarten, but it’s terrible leadership advice. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

At an early age I learned that if I could not do for all, then I should do for none.

Why should only a few friends get to enjoy a cookie along with me when the others must suffer in salivating agony? The problem was that I could not afford, at the age of five, to buy cookies for twenty kids. I barely had enough to buy the few that I bought.

How to Avoid The 3 Most Common Downfalls of Leaders | Ego, Fear, Money

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This is a follow-up post to my earlier post, The 3 Most Common Downfalls of Leaders. Today, I show you how to avoid those downfalls.

Avoiding the three most common downfalls of leaders is not difficult, but requires intentional effort.

Leadership downfall

Without further ado, here is how you avoid each of the three most common leadership downfalls:

Get constant feedback. 

I’ve written a lot about leaders getting feedback from others and I suggest you read those posts. Most of what I write comes from my own experience getting feedback. The short version, if you don’t read those posts is that I was completely naïve to my failings as a leader. I was headed for a downfall and didn’t know it…until I got feedback.

The 3 Most Common Downfalls of Leaders | Fear-Based, Ego, Money

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Leaders usually fail for three reasons.

Watching the downfall of a leader is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Living it, as I have, is even worse.

If you have failed as a leader, read this as a reminder of why and learn from it anew. If you are a successful leader, read this as a warning. If you want to be a leader someday, let this be a call to rise above these typical downfalls and lead with unfailing character and principles.

Richard Nixon - Downfall of a Leader

In middle school, I learned the concept of transitive relationship. If A = B and B = C, then A = C.

Leaders are people. People fail. Therefore, leaders fail. Great leaders fail a lot.

But great leaders also avoid these three common downfalls which often lead to fatal failure, the types that end careers, destroy relationships, and are eventually studied by others as examples of how not to lead.