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Dan (Leadership Freak)


I'm learning how to write a blog and you are one of the people I'm learning from. Thanks for this well written post that has a punch. I appreciate it.

So how to take the lead without coming off arrogant? If I might suggest, (no aw,shucks shuffle intended)using our "up front" moments to confidently add value to others rather than pointing the spot light on us prevents confidence from turning to arrogance.

Best regards,

Leadership Freak,

Dan Rockwell

michael cardus

I am confused by the "speaker" and the "group".
Yes agree that the speaker should speak when appropriate.
Yet the power of silence to allow those who would, as in your counter example, wish to be polite and wait their turn. If there is no dead and awkward silence people fall into their default modes of classroom style quiet.
If a staff member has something to say, it is not meek for the speaker or leader to let them speak. If a staff member feel that the speaker or leader is going to talk over them, why should they speak?
Also the tentative person - although people will not follow.
Has a reason for being tentative. Perhaps the decision will cost lots of money, jobs, or even people lives.
The counter example you used had a process for taking requests, that process broke therefore it is the butchers (speakers/leaders) responsibility to adjust the process to ensure that the operation still operates.

Jackie Cameron

In Scotland we call it "dithering". Sometimes standing back eg to take stock can be worthwhile. Dithering though looks indecisive and confuses people...
Got me thinking!

working girl

Love it! Although, ironically, many people work for a tentative person.


I'd agree with Dan. How do you take that initiative and not look pushy?

Suresh Venkataraman

To comment on the 'lead without seeming arrogant' thread.

You can always adopt a consensus-driven leadership style, taking in everyone's opinion etc., however you can never come off as a humble person all the time, to all the folks around, if at all you take a stance. Not taking a stance just to seem humble is counter-productive. Every leader has her/his critics. Unfortunately for the leader (because it is not in their control), it is for the critics to see the issues and motivations of the leader beyond her/his seeming lack of humility.

Therefore I feel the better course would be to acknowledge that this conflict exists, and act in accordance with one's values. As long as you, the leader, get to sleep with a clear conscience, you have done right by the folks that look up to you for leadership.

Marion Anderson

I enjoyed this and it reminded me of a quote I read recently - "If you really put a small value upon yourself,rest assured that the world will not raise your price"
Same goes for leadership if you don't have a voice no one is going to speak up for you.

Becky Clontz

In this scenario, you could also do this: rather than step up and say "I'm next" just to get the ball rolling, step up and tell the person in front or next to you, "why don't you go next" - in this way, you're not looking pushy, you are creating the action to move and everyone can appreciate the ability to get going. That is a leadership move without being selfish.

Spence McDonald

This makes awesome sense.

If you stammer, stutter, or seem confused in front of a group you are leading you have lost your believability factor. Be prepared, understand the audience (group) you are leading, go confidently forward, and present with confidence.

I have witnessed other facilitators lose confidence in front of an unwieldy unionized group by losing confidence. There voice trails off. They start using filler words. Eyes in the audience soon slam shut and wham the leader (facilitator) has lost his group. What does it take to gain back that lost leadership confidence? I bet it's a hefty price tag.

Janna Rust

When I first began my management career, there was one day I had a "lightbulb moment" around this very topic. It was then that I decided to just lead with confidence (not arrogance), doing the best I could and just see what happens. I found then how much people followed confident leaders.

When in leadership, lead. People expect it.


This is tough- while I believe that most leaders are born that way- I think that the more confident one becomes in their abilities, the easier it is for them to step up and lead. It's tricky to be confident with out some perceiving it as arrogance- add a little humility and it all works out.


On the whole I really agree with your comments. People are drawn towards leaders who can take charge of a situation and project confidence and direction.

You can take this too far though. People can come across looking like a big asshole if they are too forward and too aggressive. It's important to also be a "listener" and feel the the temperament of the followers in the store (or in the meeting room) before just jumping ahead to the front of the line.

Jared Casey

What are you talking about? First, anyone who "wants meat"--no innuendo implied--will speak up. Ever try hailing a cab or taking a seat on a busy subway car? People are borderline vicious! And that's just over transportation; food is even worse. People cut lines in grocery stores and concession stands without a second thought. It's almost a matter of course. I WISH people would chill out and just meander...but unfortunately, It's usually a dog-eat-dog world out there, and no one lets you forget it...ever.

Likewise, I have never seen anyone shuffle toward a podium in order to give their speech.

Slower pace, less aggression, everyone tending to appearances...Are you by any chance living in the south? ;)

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