Content By Lolly Daskal

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By: Lolly Daskal

When we think of leaders, we don’t often think of failures, but one of the hallmarks of the best leaders is knowing how to fail well.

Successful people are those who have failed at something—and in some cases, many things—but without ever regarding themselves as failures. They take risks, and sometimes the risks work out and sometimes things go wrong, but they remain positive and determined throughout.

Just as beginning skiers start out by being taught how to fall without injuring themselves, leaders should be taught, coached, and supported in facing adversity and failure without shaking their confidence. Part of that process is developing the right attitude about failure by considering its benefits. Here are some of the most important:

Failure keeps us focused on our strengths. One of the principal differences between a winner and a loser is that a winner always concentrates on what he can do instead of the things he can’t. When you find an area of weakness—and we all have them—work to leverage it into a strength, and use it to your advantage.

Failure teaches us to be flexible. Flexibility is key to success. Always be willing to vary your approaches to problems and circumstances to see what works best.

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By: Lolly Daskal

Every company I speak at, every leader I coach, I see a constant pattern: Virtually everyone sees struggle as something negative.

At the heart of this perception, people get too caught up in the idea of struggle to consider what struggle at its core is all about. Most people cannot see themselves objectively, which leads them to fall into the gap of their own weaknesses and shortcomings.

Faced with struggle, most people are likely turn to one of these four behaviors:
Deny. Many refuse to acknowledge the role of their own weaknesses in their struggle.
Turn around. Some accept their weakness but are always looking for a cul-de-sac so they can turn around instead of facing them.
Change. Some change their direction altogether.
Leverage. A few are able to accept their weaknesses and work to leverage them—to work on them and turn them into strengths.

Faced with these options, your success depends on the choice you make.

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By: Lolly Daskal

Have you ever worked with a boss who made everything so urgent that you never knew what was truly important? If so, you probably haven’t forgotten how frustrating it is to be unable to prioritize.

Or you may have worked for someone who required an immediate response for every little request, making you feel like you were living in a constant state of emergency.

Or maybe you’ve had to choose between two genuinely critical priorities, both equally important to your boss.

In reality, when everything is labeled urgent, it turns out that nothing really is. We can’t know what’s important, which means we can’t know how to respond. You may not be able to change your boss, but you can change how you respond to make the best of a bad situation. Here are some helpful ideas:

Manage your boss. Before you can manage the emergencies, you have to learn to manage your boss. The way you respond to your boss’s urgent requests can either reinforce his way of acting or steer yourself in a healthier direction.

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By: Lolly Daskal

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, I have observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when his performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent this.

In my book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, released May 30, 2017, I present a powerful system to help top executives harness the virtues of their leadership style. It illustrates how leaders embody seven archetypes and how each archetype has powerful abilities and hidden impediments. The following is an excerpt from The Leadership Gap.

The Leadership Gap is in book stores now.

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By: Lolly Daskal

Two men—one old, one young, both reading newspapers—were sharing a park bench on a lovely afternoon. The younger man asked his seatmate for the time, but the old man said, “No,” and went back to reading his newspaper. The young man asked, “I’m sorry, have I offended you in some way?”

The old man said pleasantly, “No, not at all.”

After a confused moment, the younger man asked, “So why won’t you tell me the time?”

The old man put down his newspaper. He looked at the young man and said, “When you first sat down here, I could see you’re a nice-looking, well-groomed young man. You were reading a paper, so I could see you’re intelligent and engaged.

“When you asked me the time, I could see it leading to a conversation, after which we’d become friends. And I’d invite you to dinner with my family, where you’d meet my beautiful, intelligent daughter, and you’d certainly hit it off with her and begin dating, then fall in love with her and propose. And there’s no way I’m letting my precious daughter marry the kind of man who doesn’t wear a watch.”

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By: Lolly Daskal

If you are going to be a leader or hold a leadership position, there’s one quality you absolutely require to be successful. You need to be a seeker.

A seeker is someone who is always searching. Seekers bypass mediocrity and are not content to settle for the status quo. They search for excellence with integrity and character.

To be a great leader, commit to seeking in everything you do.

Seek your true character. Leadership grows from character. Don’t be concerned with your reputation; instead, clarify your character, because your character is what you truly are, and your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Seek your unique qualities. Don’t be trapped by the dogma of other people’s thinking. Work to discover and develop your own unique gifts and qualities and let them lead you to the kind of contribution that only you can make.

Seek the truth. Any form of dishonesty—distorting facts, false impressions, conscious misleading—harms your leadership. Work to discover the truth in every situation and speak always with honesty and candor.

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By: Lolly Daskal


he negotiation phase of my client’s merger with a larger organization was drawing to a close. This consolidation was going to be big news, and everyone was looking forward to getting it done. I sat with my client through a long week of agreeing to terms, and then it happened: The other CEO’s attitude was truly revealed.

“The way this merger is going to work is: If you do your part, then I will do my part,” proclaimed the CEO. “But if you don’t do your part—if you think you will screw with me—take note that I will screw with you even more. Treat me fairly and I will treat you fairly.”

I looked at my client, hoping to glimpse his thoughts, but his face registered no emotion. Everyone then left the room.

“This merger cannot go through,” I said, facing my client.

“I know,” he said.

You might be thinking that the CEO’s passionate announcement was fair. After all, as long as my client treated him fairly, then all would be well. If my client treated him unfairly, however, the war would be on.

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By: Lolly Daskal

A young man came to his wise leader and asked how he could be a better leader. The wise leader said, “Let me pour you a cup of tea.” And so he started pouring a cup of tea; he kept pouring and pouring and pouring until the young man screamed, “Stop! The cup is full.”

The wise leader looked at the young man and said, “Exactly. Your cup is full, and unless you empty your cup first—unless you are ready to part with things you are holding on to—there will be no room for new wisdom, new ideas, new innovation, new reasoning, new anything. There is great wisdom in parting.”

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By: Lolly Daskal

Leadership may be complex, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. We can always simplify. Often our greatest hardships are those we impose upon ourselves.

There are some who think that in order to be a great leader, we must allow life to teach us the hard way. But in truth, if we are open to learning, things can come with ease. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers.

Here are 10 ways you can begin right now to simplify your leadership:

1. Don’t try to read minds. Simplify your leadership by learning to communicate. Learn how to ask questions and listen to the answers. Some of the biggest and most unnecessary complications come from a lack of communication and understanding.

2. Keep your word. Complications occur when people don’t say what they mean or mean what they say. Simplify by living and leading with honesty, accountability, and responsibility. Keep your promises, and remember that what you say matters because people are listening.