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Essay

How to Kick Your Own Rear

Butt kicks are important ego-reducing events. The more you focus on others — and not on yourself — the better you’ll do.

Leaders, wouldn’t it be great if people just agreed with everything you said? Wouldn’t life be friction-free if people did exactly what you wanted? A world devoid of butt kicks, unfortunately, exists only in your sweet dreams. Your concerns mean little in a world that is so worried about itself.

The first law of leadership is: it’s not about you.

Leadership is about the people and the organization you’re leading. The more you focus on others, the better you’ll do. The value of a good psychological butt kicking is that it humbles you into getting over yourself. It deflates your ego so you can more earnestly focus on others instead of yourself. Butt kicks are important ego-reducing events. They are so important, if your ego hasn’t been adjusted in a while, you should put on your boots and kick your own ass.

Are you wondering how to give yourself a leadership kick in the ass? Never fear. I want to offer you some suggestions to get it done.

  • Start with courage. Think of all the ways courage connects to leading others. Leaders have to render decisions that some people will resist, which takes courage. Leaders have to nudge people outside their comfort zones so they continue to grow, which takes courage. While they’re doing all these things, leaders also have to embody and uphold principles, values and ideals. They have to be role models for courageous behaviors.
  • Employ purposeful discomfort. A leader’s primary job is to make people uncomfortable. That’s because people and organizations don’t grow in a zone of comfort. They grow, progress and evolve in a zone of discomfort. By nudging people into discomfort, leaders prevent apathy and complacency from setting in, while ensuring the growth and development of new skills and abilities. But this responsibility extends beyond the people the leader is leading. The first person whom the leader needs to make uncomfortable is themself.
  • Appoint a chief ego deflator. When you’re in a leadership role, people tend to coddle you too much. It’s important for every leader to have kinship with a few key people who won’t pamper you. Everybody needs somebody who will keep his or her ego in check. You need that special someone who can hold up the mirror so you can catch yourself being yourself. You need at least one person who can call you on your trickery and self-deception. Love that person. Cherish that person.

As a leader, you need to keep your bum sore.

Leaders like the bottom line, so here it is: the more you kick your own ass, the less others will have to. Use these tips as a sort of ongoing regimen to ensure that you stay self-aware and grounded in humility. The end result is you’ll become more focused on doing more good for the people you’re charged with leading.

Bill Treasurer is the chief encouragement officer for Giant Leap Consulting Inc., and author of “Leaders Open Doors.” Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.

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