Do You Want To Be A Great Leader?


During keynotes and coaching sessions, I frequently ask the question, “Do you want to be a great leader, or do you want your team to be led by a great leader?” Often people will say, “Well, I don't know. They kind of feel like the same thing.” And they are similar. But there is a subtle difference that’s so important.

The difference lies in the way you view the situation, in the lens through which you are looking. If you want to be a great leader, you want your team to do well, but really your intent is to be seen as a great leader. You probably do a lot of the right things, but in the end you want to make sure that you get the credit for being such a great leader.

Conversely, if you want your team led by a great leader, then you’re thinking through the lens of “What does Team Member A need? What does Team Member B need?” Whoever it is that you’re leading, you look at things from their perspective. Where are their career goals in conjunction with what we are trying to accomplish as a team or organization, and how can you best help them? You’re clearing the path and providing opportunities to exceed those goals, while helping them achieve company goals.

It's a subtle difference, but it changes the way you think about everything. It's built on a foundation of humility. Your fulfillment and joy come from seeing those you’re leading rise to stardom or do some wonderful thing for the organization. Not from whether or not praise is heaped upon you, or if you get credit from somebody else.


Leading a team requires a different skillset than working as an individual contributor. To succeed in the face of new challenges, first-level leaders need to shift how they think and act. Download our latest guide and develop your people into a high-performing team. 

About the Author

Todd Davis

Todd Davis has over 30 years of experience in human resources, training and training development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. Todd is currently a member of the FranklinCovey Executive Team where he serves as the Chief People Officer. He is also a bestselling author with two books to his credit, Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Talent Unleashed: 3 Leadership Conversations for Tapping the Unlimited Potential of People.

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