Memo to Leaders: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself


To: Leaders Everywhere

From: A Fellow Sojourner

Subject: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Dear fellow leaders,

It has come to my attention that we are our own worst enemies. The lack of our effectiveness and success is primarily due to our own stupidity and failure to get out of our own way. We tend to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and forget that our primary goal is to influence others to higher levels of performance. We forget that the energy we bring to our team through our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual presence is what sets the tone for their morale, productivity, and well-being.

It’s time to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. Here are three key checkups I suggest you perform:

Check your attitude — If you come to work acting like Mr./Ms. Grumpypants, how do you expect your team members to act? They’re going to act just like you. Remember, when you’re in a leadership position, you’re always under the microscope. Does it get tiring? Yes. Is it reality? Yes. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, so try putting a smile on your face, remember to say please and thank you, catch your people doing something right, and spread a little sunshine to your team. You’ll find that it’s contagious.

Check your ego — Get over yourself. You’re really not that big of deal (everyone else already knows it so you might as well admit it). Our oversized egos are often the primary culprits of our undoing. A little bit of power can be intoxicating, and if you don’t manage it properly, you’ll find your head growing bigger than the rest of your body. Make sure you have some “truth-tellers” in your life that will keep you down to earth by speaking the honest, hard truth about your performance even if everyone else thinks you walk on water (they really don’t think you can walk on water, they just flatter you by pretending they do).

Check your motives — Why did you sign up for this leadership gig anyway? Was it to make more money? Was it the only way to move up in the organization? Do you like to boss people around? Or were you interested in helping people learn, grow, and achieve their goals? While you’re checking your motives, you might want to examine your core values as well. Whatever values you hold dear are probably the driving force behind your motives and behaviors. Get your values and behavior in alignment and you’ll be a leadership dynamo.

Being a leader is a tough job and it’s not for the weary or faint of heart. Don’t make it harder by acting stupid. Use your brain. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Thank you.

23 Comments on “Memo to Leaders: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

  1. Thanks for the reminder, Randy. It’s easy to let little things blind you to the essence of leading others– service.

    • Thank you for your comments Andrea. I think sometimes we try to overcomplicate things and it’s usually better to keep it simple.

      Take care,


  2. Randy, I love how you think! The servant attitude is what leading is really all about. I have often drawn an upside down pyramid and pointed to the pinnacle (now at the bottom) as where the real leader resides. He/she is responsible to hold everyone else up and keep things in balance. I enjoy your blog immensely!

    • Thanks Farmgirl! I love the upside-down pyramid analogy, too, because it captures the essence of servant leadership.

      I enjoy your blog too. Keep up the good work!


  3. Reblogged this on Courageous Leadership and commented:
    More times than I care to admit I have gotten a little full of myself, as my mother would have described it, only to have a humbling reality check follow. Thank goodness for the servant leaders who have gone before us, raising the standard, showing us how it’s done. Thank you for this fabulous reminder, Randy!

    • Thank you for your comments Beth. I’m sorry I didn’t reply earlier. Thank heavens for reality checks that keep us grounded!

      Take care,


  4. Check. Check. Check. What a great reminder and self test to take! The impact of failing in any of these areas go beyond the leaders themselves. The impact multiplies as it encourages bad habits in other around as well as a decline in morale for others. Great, great, great reminders, Randy! Thanks. Jon

    • Hi Jon. Thanks for your comments! It’s easy for us to forget the ripple effect our behaviors and emotions have on those around us. We always have to remember that the leader sets the tone!

      Take care,


  5. Pingback: Randy Conley – Leading begins with trust! « willowcreeksa

  6. Nicely written…The second checklist Check your attitude, I believe was for me…its indeed a reminder

  7. Nicely written…the second checklist “check your attitude” really got me…Indeed its a reminded

  8. Thanks Randy, well said. I especially like the suggestion to have genuine truth tellers in place. Leaders need to receive tough love as much as they give it out. I read something once that said a true test of one’s character is how you treat someone who you think can do nothing for you (maybe I read it here!).

    • Thank you Murray. I like your statement about the test of character. I don’t think I’ve used it in one of my articles….yet!

      Take care,


  9. Great article Randy you nailed it, I am young and new in the managerial leadership position. Currently playing the leadership role at my first company. Any tips, do’s and don’ts, advice for starters like me?
    Thank you and very much appreciated.

    • Thanks for your comments Moses and congrats on being in a formal leadership position!

      I’ve learned that leadership is much more about who you are than what you do. Be clear on your personal values. Why do you want to lead people? Why is it important to you? How do you want to serve others? If you get clear on those questions, I think the outward behaviors fall into line. I would also encourage you to be genuine and authentic. Don’t try to put on a facade and don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable with people.

      Best wishes to you!


      • Will definitely apply these concepts in. Thank you Randy.

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