13 Rights Successful Leaders Must Give Up

Its guest post Monday!!! This post is written by Brian Dodd. He writes a leadership blog whose purpose is to take the everyday life experiences that we all have and process them in the light of leadership. His objective is to add value to leaders and provide perspective, encouragement, and solutions to the issues they face daily. Make sure to check out his blog and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. If you would like to have post featured on my site then click here.

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” – Elmore Leonard on why his crime novels are so successful.

Much like the acclaimed Leonard’s approach to writing, successful leadership often results from things leaders choose not to do.  Things they choose to skip.  Things they choose to simply give up and leave out of their lives.  A “Stop Doing List” is a practice of every successful leader as is a ”Not Doing List.”

The following is a list of rights that successful leaders choose to skip or give up:

  1. Successful leaders give up the right to always be right.  Maintaining relationships is more important.  You do not need to win every argument.
  2. Successful leaders give up the right to do it alone.  It is hard but they must build a team.
  3. Successful leaders give up the right to constantly be angry.  They must maintain self-control.
  4. Successful leaders give up the right to stop learning.  They must embrace personal growth.
  5. Successful leaders give up the right many times to their opinion.  The impact of our words is too great.
  6. Successful leaders give up the right many times to comfort.  They must work harder and longer than those they serve.
  7. Successful leaders give up the right to live in the “gray area.”  They must be above reproach in financial matters and with the opposite sex among others.
  8. Successful leaders give up the right to “wing it.”  They must always be prepared.
  9. Successful leaders give up the right to be arrogant.  A humble spirit increases your influence and is an attractive quality to those who wish to follow you.
  10. Successful leaders give up the right to constantly have the platform and spotlight.  They must constantly promote the efforts of others and build organizations that will last beyond their leadership.
  11. Successful leaders give up the right to some privacy.  Your life becomes increasingly scrutinized.
  12. Successful leaders give up the right to have many options.  There are fewer places you can go and things you can do.  Ask any pastor who just wants a quiet meal at restaurant with his wife and children.
  13. Successful leaders give up the right to many times controlling the agenda.  You must build consensus.

Questions: Pastors and leaders, do any of these sacrifices resonate with you?  What other things have you had to give up to be a successful leader?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Successful Leaders give up the right to be lazy. You can’t be a successful Leader and be lazy with no work ethic. It requires hard work. I love all of these and will share this with my facebook friends. #10 truly is a big thing for Leaders and its a hard pill to swallow for some. Pushing up people should be the norm in a Leaders life.

    • Lincoln Parks,

      I totally agree, success does not come to the lazy person. The book of Proverbs is a great book to read about the lazy vs. hard workers.

      Thanks for reading and joining the conversation.

  • I think the 11th one is an important one to understand. You want to maintain some degree of privacy, but I totally agree that your life as a leader is often on display whether you like it or not. Leaders are examples in the eyes of their followers. Great post, Brian!

    • Loren,

      I think it takes wisdom to be able to know what needs to be public and what should stay private. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Great pot Brian and a good list for leaders to strive for.

  • That is a great list. I think along with giving up the right to be angry, good leaders also give up the rights to show other emotions. When setbacks come, the person leading will have to be like the strong parent; put their feelings aside to strengthen the others, to quickly help or facilitate a solution or brace and prepare for fall out.

    Well done. Thanks.

    • Floyd,

      Great point about “giving up the right to emotions.” At times a leader need to be able not to show emotions during setbacks or challenging times so they can lead the people through it. I also think their are times during a challenge or setback that it’s good to show your emotions, this allows you and your people to connect on an emotional level which can cause everyone to move forward better.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • #14. Successful leaders give up the right to themselves.

    It was and is never about us.

    • So true Julie. Thank you for reading and adding to the post.

  • I love the whole list. But especially # 1 and 3

    In marriage, I have learned that “I can either be right or I can have a relationship”. Sometimes, we can win an argument but loose the relationship. It’s the same when it comes to leading others, we can either have the last word all the time or we can extend grace and allow others to “win” (even if it doesn’t mean they are right, per se)

    • Ngina,

      These points can definitely be used in all areas of our life. I really like your points about a marriage relationship. Those who have successful marriages understand the importance of grace and building each other up. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Like others – I love the whole list but in my experience #9 is a problem area. I know too many who believe they are always the smartest person in the room and that arrogance is reflected in the way they speak to others and about others – it lacks any humility at all and if not taken care of will lead to a downfall.

    • Jim,

      I think arrogant people lack the ability to truly influence others. Others might follow because of not wanting to lose their job they they won’t be entirely committed to the leader and company. The key of course is to maintain humility. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • All great things to give up as a leader. It’s a refreshing reminder of what a leader has not rights to. Great post.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Juan Cruz!!!

  • As I read these points, Humbleness, Accountability and Servitude are 3 main qualities that jump out at me. Great list!

    • Great additions and needed characteristics a leader should have. Thank you for reading and stopping by.

  • Michaelholmes Mh

    The choice what to do and what not to do takes courage. Your ability to make crucial decisions in a critical situation determines your capacity to lead.

    • Great points Michael. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jeff Hamilton

    I am so glad I read this. I hope to embrace personal growth, always be prepared and continue to work as a team. those are the points that stick in my mind. jh :) <

    • Jeff,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Being prepared and working on a team is important in our field right?:)

      Thank you for reading and sharing.