How has your leadership changed? My wife brought the topic up yesterday. I turned the topic back to her. “How do you think I’ve changed?”

She said, “You’re more of a leader and less of a controller.” I didn’t take offense at the suggestion that I’m a control freak. I was and still feel the inclination. Perhaps it’s necessary as long as it’s managed.


Successful leaders release rather than control.

Leaders understand where others want to go and find alignment between personal and organizational vision. I used to believe leadership was about me. Now I believe it’s about them and their values. Shared values enable people to find alignment with each other.

Releasing is more joyful and less stressful.

Conversations are more about others and less about me. Ego plays a part in making this shift. Needing the spotlight prevents leaders from focusing on others.

Managing emotion matters:

Releasing others requires emotional control. Tempering your emotions gives room for others. Strong emotion causes others to pull back or feel the need to conform. But calm leaders provide space for others.

Small doses of strong emotion are effective but calm optimism works better over the long haul. I enjoy heated discussion but it intimidates some.  They close down. Lowering my tone, intensity, and volume lets others speak up.

If you’re not emotionally expressive, you may need an opposite approach. People want to know how you feel but they don’t want to be bowled over.


I’m more committed to simplicity than ever. Complexity makes leaders feel important, but success requires a series of simple, small wins achieved at regular intervals. Momentum is a series of small wins.

Simplicity releases. Complexity paralyzes.

How has your leadership changed over the years?