Leading from weakness and failure

Being a great leader and showing leadership has less to do with charging from the front or being a strategic genius in the background.

And more to do with being the most open, the most vulnerable, and most relatable person on your team.

Back in the “Dark Ages” there was a King in Northern England. 

King Eanfrith.

And he won a LOT of battles.

He didn’t have a big army.

He didn’t have the best equipment or the best settlement location.

But he would win battles.

And that made him arrogant.

Every time he won, he thought himself a great leader.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy though, because who loses a battle and considers themselves a great leader?

It’s very difficult to be a great leader when you’re dead.

And those wins, that arrogance led him to have a meeting with a rival King.

He met up with his rival on his enemy’s home turf, with no army.

Because he believed he was unbeatable.

And he was slaughtered right after an evening feast.

Anyone can look like a champion after a string of wins.

A leader is someone who keeps the team together after all the losses too.

Recently I’ve had to open up a lot to my team and expose just how many failures we’ve had recently.

I’ll admit, part of me feared they’d all jump ship.

I assumed they’d all see me as weak and a failure.

Almost certainly they’d be angry and frustrated with me.

And the exact opposite happened.

They showed me some of their ideas.

Really REALLY good ideas.

They rallied around me and picked me up.

I let victory defeat me and define my value as a leader by my wins and accomplishments.

And my failures hurt my ego.

But I decided to step up, admit my mistakes, and tell the team that we’re moving on.

Yes, we lost that battle.

Yes, we got shipwrecked.

But we’re still heading in this direction and I’m not giving up.

I was open, vulnerable, and relatable.

And it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a leader.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.