Photo Credit: Val Vesa,

In many of my blogs, I talk about advanced leadership qualities such as mindfulness, preparing for failure, and aligning personal with professional values. However, I wanted to take a step back in my next series of posts and focus on the fundamentals.

There are a few things a good leader must get right in order for all the advanced skills to make a difference. If you’re failing at one of these core leadership qualities, nothing else matters. You won’t be a good leader and your team will suffer—that’s the bottom line.

It may sound harsh, but I’ve seen it play out too many times in the corporate world to deny that it’s true.

The five core things every leader must get right to be effective are:

  1. Leadership Isn’t About You
  2. Leaders are Role Models
  3. Leadership is a Mindset
  4. Leaders Lead with Permission
  5. Leaders Focus on Growth

I’ll focus on one of the above concepts in each of my five blogs, starting with:

Leadership Isn’t About You

I’m sure you’ve all seen that leader who struts into the office every day, waiting for his employees to revere him, or who expects her team members to be at her beck and call.

These are leaders who are getting it wrong.

Leadership isn’t about ego. If you want to run a company to prove to everyone how smart you are, you’re in it for all the wrong reasons. The best leaders I’ve known are the ones who are completely behind the scenes. Not only do they let their employees take the spotlight, but they’re constantly working in the background to create more leaders and putting them in a position to shine.

Inspire, Influence, Support, and Challenge

As a leader, your goal should be to inspire, influence, support, and challenge those you lead. That means putting your own motivations aside, stepping away from the limelight, and focusing on what others need from you.

If you find yourself continually on the podium, in front of television cameras, or otherwise front and center in your business, it’s probably time to rethink your priorities.

To make sure your business isn’t all about you, you need to schedule regular meetings with your team members and really listen to them.

  • What do they need from you to be effective?
  • What extra duties do they feel they’d excel at?
  • What challenges are they facing that are inhibiting their success?

If you’ve taken too much of a ‘me first’ role in your business, it may take some time to get your employees to open up and trust you again. This is where humility and vulnerability play a huge part.

If you’ve set the standard of not really listening to your team, hogging the glory, or otherwise undermining them (whether you mean to or not), you’ll have to enter a rebuilding phase.

The good news is that you can change paths.

You can start by seeking out answers to the questions posed above. Find out what your employees really value, how they like to be led, and what they need most from you. Then go do those things!

Over time, if you’re consistently seeking to serve your employees rather than serve yourself, you’ll begin to see some profound changes in those relationships, in the team dynamics, and in the growth and success of your business!


In the next blog we’re going to talk about Leaders as Role Models and what that looks like in practice. I hope you’ll check back in as we move through this series about what it really takes to lead and influence well.



Trish Cody is an Executive Awareness Coach and Speaker who focuses on optimizing results for business leaders. With over 20 years of experience as a strategic consultant for some of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies, Trish Cody has coached and consulted with senior level teams in planning, designing, launching, and measuring the return for major initiatives.

As a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Practitioner, Trish works with senior level leaders and business owners to raise their levels of self-awareness and create more trust, loyalty and success in their businesses and teams. Contact Trish at

Photo Credit: Val Vesa,